Archive of films Paper Soldier / Bumažnyj soldat

2008, 118 min

Section: East of the West - Competition
Year: 2009

Therapist Daniil, his wife Nina, a doctor, and his lover Vera are involved in the preparations for Gagarin’s launch in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Their awareness of the risks involved in the project has a detrimental effect on their relationships and adversely foreshadows their destinies. A far cry from the romantic atmosphere and official optimism of the time.


The film’s title taken from Bulat Okudzhava’s song ironises the barren romanticism of the post-Stalinist "thaw” generation. Just as the paper soldier tried in the mayhem of battle to change the world, but just burnt itself up in the process, German’s protagonists throw away their unique lives in their efforts to remain committed to the Baikonur space programme in Kazakhstan. These images of 1961 are devoid of any nostalgia. The raw, cold slush of early spring eats into the moral fibre of therapist Daniil, his wife Nina, a doctor, and his lover Vera. The sense of their temporary situation and inauspicious circumstances only serves to stifle their emotions and the enthusiasm for the project they signed themselves up for. Down by the launch pads set into the ruins of a disused gulag, soldiers shoot at alsatians as bewildered inhabitants of the steppe roam past. The hazards of Gagarin’s launch prove too much for Daniil’s heart… Nina and Vera will now be united forever by the death of a man who was unable to love them. Ten years later they are still gossiping with old friends about the same things and singing the same songs. Someone they know is planning to emigrate, another is buying a second-hand car. And there’s still so much left unsaid…

About the director

Alexey German Jr. (b. 1976, Moscow) is the son of celebrated director Alexey German and screenwriter Svetlana Karmalita. After studying at the St Petersburg Theatre Academy (SPGATI) he moved to Moscow’s Film School (VGIK), where he became known for his films Banner (Znamya, 1998), Large Autumn Field (Bolshoye osenneye pole, 1999) and his graduate film Little Fools (Durachki, 2001). He demonstrated his fondness for evoking a retro atmosphere in his superbly stylised debut The Last Train (Posledny poezd, 2003), which won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award in Venice and a number of prizes at another 50 international and domestic festivals (also screened at Karlovy Vary in 2004 in the section East of the West). He enjoyed similar acclaim for his next film Harpastum (Garpastum, 2005), presented with Russia’s prestigious Nika and Golden Eagle awards for direction. The film Paper Soldier won a Silver Lion in Venice for Best Director and an Award for cinematography.


Elle Driver
66, rue de Miromesnil, 750 08, Paris
Tel: +33 156 434 870
Fax: +33 145 614 608
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: East of the West - Competition
Director: Alexey German Jr.
Screenplay: Alexej German ml. / Alexey German Jr., Vladimir Arkuša / Vladimir Arkusha
Dir. of Photography: Ališer Chamidchodžajev / Alisher Khamidkhodzhaev, Maxim Drozdov
Music: Fjodor Sofronov / Fedor Sofronov
Editor: Sergej Ivanov / Sergey Ivanov
Producer: Artěm Vassiljev / Artem Vassiliev, Sergej Šumakov / Sergey Shumakov
Production: Phenomen Films
Cast: Merab Ninidze, Čulpan Chamatova / Chulpan Khamatova, Anastasja Ševeljeva / Anastasya Sheveleva
Contact: Elle Driver


Eva Diederix

Buyer, Sales Agent

Artem Vassiliev



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