International Competition

Private Chronicles. Monologue

- RUSSIA / 1999 / Russian / Color, B&W / 35mm (1:1.33) / 91 min

Director, Photography, Producer: Vitalij Manskij
Editing: Igor Jarkevich
Sound: E. Praslova
Music: Alekseij Ajgi
Production Companies: MV-Studio, REN TV, YLE TV2
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Grappling with many thousands of meters of private film, director Vitalij Manskij has emerged with this chronicle of a generation of Russian youth. The period from 1961 to 1986 began with Yurii Gagarin’s adventure in space and ended directly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Childhood, parents’ divorce, fights with friends and the excitement of a first kiss... these familiar scenes of youth are spelled out by narration from the filmmaker himself. A chance to enter the everyday life of an extremely average middle-class family in the communist Soviet Union.

[Director’s Statement] It is rather difficult to explain this work briefly, because the preparation period alone took more than three years. The estimate of even the preparation period exceeded the estimated expenditure of the film by a dozen times. More than 5,000 hours of footage were presented for editing. Large archives of private amateur films (8 and 16 mm) from 1945 to 1991 were gathered for the film from all over the former USSR.

Private Chronicles. Monologue creates a life history of the most paradoxical generation of Soviet people. It is a kind of film epoch which recreates the life of one young man who absorbed the experience of many thousands of people his age.

The hero of the film was born on April 11 1961, the day before the most optimistic date in Soviet history: Gagarin’s first flight to space. Together with the main hero we run year by year through not only the life of one man but the life of the whole state right up to 1986, the year when the empire began to collapse.

This film will be the most realistic portrait of the epoch—it includes not one professionally-shot sequence. From beginning to end it is all made by Soviet people who called themselves “amateur filmmakers” and who were shooting unpretentious family chronicles not for spectators but for themselves. In this sense, Private Chronicles. Monologue is the first “people’s film” in Russian cinema, the first film that was created by people themselves.


- Vitalij Manskij

Born in Lvov in 1963.Graduated from VGIK, Medinskij’s studio, and is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Russian documentary filmmakers. Has directed 20 very different films, nearly all of which have screened at international festivals around the world and on European TV channels like ARTE, MDR, and DR. Recent works include Etudes about Love, Part 3: New Times (1995) and Bliss (1996). Author of television projects for ORT and director of Vertov-Studio for Russian channel REN-TV, where he also worked as First General Producer. Founded an archive of amateur home chronicles, covering the period of 1945 to 1991, and initiated the only Russian electronic journal on documentary films (www.vertov.ru).

• International Competition | Angelos’ Film | A2 | Buenaventura Durruti, Anarchist | Crazy | Days in Those Mountains | La Devinière | Gaea Girls | Grandma’s Hairpin | In Vanda’s Room | The Land of the Wandering Souls | Mysterious Object at Noon | Paragraph 175 | Private Chronicles. Monologue | 6 Easy Pieces | Southern Comfort • Jurors | Hartmut Bitomsky | Bernard Eisenschitz | Ann Hui | Kuroki Kazuo | Ivars Seleckis