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Germany 2023, HDV, in English
“The face is the epiphany, the moment where
the whole of humanity becomes present..."
“The face is what you cannot kill..."
This film is dedicated to the victims of Stalinism
as a cinematic contemplation based on photographs of arrested women and men before their execution. These victims came from all areas of the Soviet Union, many of them were immigrants from foreign countries.
Thousands of such photographs were discovered during the early1990s by the NGO Memorial in the Lubyanka, the headquarters of Russia’s secret service in Moscow and re-photographed by the British design historian David King (1943-2016).
The selected 26 faces shown in the film stand
for millions of innocent people murdered by a totalitarian system. The film’s formal simplicity and its slow pace allow the audience to let an emotional connection with the victims evolve. Inserted text conveys necessary background information about the oppression. Intermittently are shown pictures of Soviet sculptures which promote a hard and rigid heroism, while true humanness and vulnerability can be seen in the faces of the persecuted with their almost iconic quality.
This filmic commemoration aims to emphasize the value and dignity of these people’s lives, and at the same time adds some historical context to the ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
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