Zaplyv Film / 2015
HD, VHS, 78 min, 16:9, color, sound
"For the humble soul of the Russian common people, worn out by grief and toil, and still more by the everlasting injustice and everlasting sin, his own and the world’s, it was the greatest need and comfort to find someone or something holy to fall down before and worship."
- Fyodor Dostoevsky
Swimmers / Zaplyv is a sketch of an extraordinary attempt, at the border of science, cosmology, and psychedelic trance theatre, to achieve and maintain collective belief in post-communist Russia.
Who is happy in Russia? The search for meaning, happiness, and footing in a community can take on an odd shape, such as when a group of adults walk single file into the sea and then hop through the water making strange movements or indulges in nocturnal psychedelic theatrical performances. The swimming and dancing rituals are led by Boris Zolotov, a once famous Soviet physicist who abandoned academic life to spread his cosmic wisdom. Without wanting to interpret or debunk anything, in Swimmers / Zaplyv (G/RUS/HU 2015) Kristina Paustian juxtaposes documentary observations of daily life in the guru’s commune in southern Russia with archive footage of his appearances in crowded auditoriums or on TV. She also introduces a young woman as a protagonist who discusses the notion of happiness in today’s Russia with Zolotov.
(text Birgit Kohler, arsenal berlin)
Director, Cinematography and Editing
Normen Perke, Clarissa Thieme
Director of Photography of Archive Footage
Jurij Svetlakov, Aleksandr Udalov, Fedor Ivachov, Mikhail Murizin
University of the Arts Berlin
In Collaboration with
Kristina Paustian and György Gattyàn
East Silver Market
2015 Duisburger Filmwoche
***ARTE Documentary Award***
2015 Torino Film Festival - TFFDOC/INTERNAZIONALE.DOC
2015 ArtDocFest Moscow, Russia
2016 Arsenal Berlin
2016 Nova Cinema Echos of Jihlava, Brussels
2016 Screencity Paris
2018 Arsenal Berlin
2019 Feldfünf, Berlin