PODCAST| Nicolò Comotti interviews Aleksey German Jr., director of the film Dovlatov.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Aleksey German Jr. is here in Berlin with his extremely ambitious film Dovlatov, screening in the official competition of the 68th edition of the Berlinale. After his visually stunning Under the Electric Clouds that won him the Silver Bear in 2015, German returns with a film that pars his beautiful aesthetics with a fluid and bold narrative. Through the fog of 1970s Soviet Union, we experience the struggle of Sergei Dovlatov, who would then become, unbeknownst to him, one of the most influential writers in post-Soviet Russia.
Dovlatov: Leningrad, November 1971. The city is shrouded in fog. Another anniversary of the revolution is being celebrated, but the country is not making any progress – politically, economically or culturally. Sergei has first-hand experience of this stasis. The young writer’s manuscripts are regularly rejected by the official media; his view on things and people is not desired. Others are experiencing similar problems, one of them is his friend Joseph Brodsky whom the state forces into exile. Sergei is however determined to stay and lead a normal life with his wife Lena and daughter Katya. He wants to write about discovering reality: about shipyard workers, or the construction of the metro where one day the bodies of thirty children killed during the Second World War are uncovered. Alexey German Jr’s film makes use of grand tableaux and extended tracking shots to portray the world of Russian-Jewish writer Sergei Dovlatov (1941–1990), whose brilliantly ironic texts were forbidden from being printed in the Soviet Union under Brezhnev. Out of a tragicomic rondeau of rebellion and assimilation, pain and fatigue, ensues a portrait of an era of stagnation and its destructive effects.