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Komsomolsk mon amour



Thomas Lahusen, Tracy McDonald, and Alexander Gershtein

Digital video; color & b/w; 55 min.; Russian & English subtitles, Canada, 2007.


Komsomolsk-on- Amur, Russian Far East

A film about the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East, its history and present-day struggles, seen through the eyes of young people, old Communists, former labor-camp prisoners, and the local avant-garde theater KnAM, performing a “slow reading” of Dostoevsky’s Notebooks. The film is based on footage shot in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and excerpts of Soviet features and archival footage. Born in 1932 and located at the “edge of civilization,” Komsomolsk is still a city largely closed to foreigners. A major site of the Soviet Gulag, it is also the home of one of the most important hubs of the Russian military-industrial complex. Telling a highly unusual story of survival and hope in the harsh conditions of post-Soviet Russia, the film also innovates in the clash and rhythm of its images. Views of the majestic Amur River alternate with the grey and rectilinear alleys of the socialist city and its industrial landscape. Teenagers practice break dancing and motocross in front of pompous monuments to the glory of the city’s first builders. Old Communists as well as former prisoners remember their heroic youth, and inspired artists share a worldview where innovation and Sovietness coexist in an eerie proximity.


Utopia Film Festival, Greenbelt, USA (October 2007)
DOK Leipzig 2007 (DOK Market)
Globians world & culture documentary film festival, Potsdam, Germany (2008)

Komsomolsk 1
Komsomolsk 2
Komsomolsk 3
Komsomolsk 4
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