Archive of films The Children of Leningradsky / The Children of Leningradsky

2004, 35 min

Section: East of the West - Out of Competition
Year: 2005

Statistics show that around 30,000 homeless children are wandering around Moscow. They gather in the metro and in railway stations, they eke out a living by begging, stealing and through prostitution. They come from various social strata and all of them long for a home. They have an extraordinary sense of solidarity, they know how to love, but they are also capable of killing.


This documentary informs viewers that, after the collapse of the USSR, around four million homeless children roam the country and that, during the making of this film, there were approximately 30,000 of them in Moscow alone. This film testimony is based on interviews and images of the terrible conditions suffered by children of all ages. They gather in the metro and in railway stations, they spend the night by canals and in building ruins. They eke out a living by begging, stealing, occasional prostitution, and they are excessively dependent on drugs. These small communities take the place of their families, who have either cast them out onto the street, or they themselves have rejected family life. They have cultivated a touching sense of solidarity. They are capable of tender affection but also of killing. Some are aware of their situation, others are being destroyed by drugs and illness. Facing the harsh world of the street helps the children not only to observe its tough laws, but also its folkloric reflections.

About the director

Hanna Polak (b. 1967, Katowice) started her career as an actress for the Entertainment Theatre in Chorzów (1987-88). In 1997 she set up Active Child Aid to help underprivileged children in Russia. In 2002 she began studies at the Cinematography School of Moscow. Her first short film, Al (2004), was awarded at the Documentary Film Festival in Cracow. As a freelance photographer and filmmaker she has cooperated with ABC TV, France-2, Fuji TV, ITN and TVN.
Andrzej Celiński (b. 1961, Cracow) graduated in theatre acting in 1984 from the State Theatre Academy in Cracow. From the same school in 1995 he finished studies in television and theatre direction. He has directed a number of successful plays in Poland and the Czech Republic. In 1999 he wrote the play Homlet. In that same year in the Czech Republic he successfully directed Mouth of Mick Jagger. Celiński also directs television documentaries dealing with Poland’s contemporary theatre and film scene.


Hanna Polak
Wietnamska 61L, 40-765, Katowice
Tel: +48 504 198 007
Fax: +48 228 332 831

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: East of the West - Out of Competition
Director: Hanna Polak, Andrzej Celiński
Dir. of Photography: Hanna Polak, Andrzej Celiński, Hans Joergen Burkard
Editor: Ewa Romanowska Rozewicz, Andrzej Celiński
Producer: Hanna Polak, Andrzej Celiński, Active Child Aid
Contact: Hanna Polak


Hanna Polak

Film Director


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