Paper Soldier

  • 120'
  • Russia
  • 2008
For the Soviet intelligentsia of the 1960s, Bulat Okudzhava’s song Paper Soldier became a kind of anthem, proclaiming the values of individual responsibility and freedom of choice. Those were the days of great expectations, the beginning of Khrushchev’s liberalization and the climax of the grand Communist Utopia, fuelled by the first successful space flights.
Set in the early 60s and featuring an emotionally vulnerable doctor (Merab Ninidze) working with the first team of Soviet cosmonauts, the film presents a very daring artistic effort from the heir to the German dynasty, Alexey Jr. Though deeply rooted in the classic oeuvre of his famous father, and with heavy references to the Soviet cinema of that era, the film is not a 'retro movie'. As German Jr. himself puts it, 'I made an essay about my impressions of that time, the time when my parents were young'. In depicting Gagarin's time and the Soviet liberal renaissance, German Jr. goes beyond documentary authenticity and factual accuracy. In his cinematographic 'search of lost time' the director constructs a complex labyrinth of psychological profiles and creates a collage of cultural references.
With its meticulous directing, superb acting and brilliant cinematography, Paper Soldier triumphed in Venice and was applauded by critics at home. The film was supported by the IFFR Hubert Bals Fund. (MB)

Director
Alexey German Jr.
Country of production
Russia
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
120'
Medium
35mm
Original title
Bumaznyj soldat
Language
Russian
Producers
Artem Vasilyev, Sergei Shumakov
Production Companies
Phenomen Films, RTR / Russian State TV & Radio Broadcasting Co. & Kultura
Sales
Elle Driver
Screenplay
Alexey German Jr.
Editor
Sergey Ivanov
Sound Design
Tariel Gasan Zade
Music
Fedor Sofronov
Cast
Merab Ninidze, Chulpan Khamatova
Website
https://elledriver.fr/en/movie/paper-soldier