Archive of films Once Upon a Time in the Provinces / Odnaždy v provincii

2008, 106 min

Section: A Female Take on Russia
Year: 2009

Following a family scandal, television celebrity Nastya seeks refuge with her sister Vera who lives in a provincial town. The brutal conditions of the place and the problems in Vera’s marriage show her a world for which she is ill prepared. She soon understands that utter emotional ruthlessness is far more sinister for human solidarity than material deprivation.


Television celebrity Nastya seeks refuge with her sister Vera after a conflict with her father, a general. He once drove Vera out of the house as well, and sent her good-looking but plebeian husband Kolya to Chechnya. The couple and their child are now scraping a living in a workers’ dormitory. Injured during the war, Kolya suffers ugly seizures and is irritated by the presence of the stylish Nastya. The situation is reminiscent of Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire… The plot is rounded out with typical inhabitants of the devastated provinces, the home of a growing community of migrants from Central Asia, and the only diversion for the local youth is vodka and casual sex. The drama of Nastya’s flight from Moscow pales into insignificance when she is confronted with the fate of her sister and the drastic conditions of provincial life, in which she desperately tries to find her footing. Rough morals and disruptive relationships have become the natural means to survive a bleak existence, from which there is no escape. More insidious than material deprivation, however, is the utter emotional brutality which breeds all manner of deception and betrayal.

About the director

Katya Shagalova (b. 1976, Moscow) studied screenwriting at VGIK (1997) and subsequently took a course in stage direction at GITIS (2002). She wrote the script for the TV series "Viola Tarakanova. In a World of Criminal Passion” ("Viola Tarakanova. V mire prestupnych strastyey”), for the TV channel TV-6 she made the documentary Date of Birth (Data rozhdyeniya, 2001), and she has directed for the stage at Moscow’s New Opera Theatre and the Royal Court in London. She gave her film debut as director and screenwriter with Pavlov’s Dog (Sobaka Pavlova, 2005), in which she confronts psychiatrists over the insanity of a young couple placed by their parents in an institution. The film won awards for Best Debut and Best Direction at domestic festivals (Window to Europe – Vyborg, Stalker – Moscow, Amur Autumn – Blagoveshchensk, Crimea Island – Sevastopol).


Central Partnership
15,1st Zachatievsky Lane, 119 034, Moscow
Tel: +7 495 777 49 61
Fax: +7 495 799 56 70

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: A Female Take on Russia
Director: Katya Shagalova
Screenplay: Kaťja Šagalova / Katya Shagalova
Dir. of Photography: Jevgenij Privin / Yevgeny Privin
Music: Alexej Šelygin / Alexei Shelygin
Producer: Ruben Dišdišjan / Ruben Dishdishyan
Production: Central Partnership
Cast: Ljubov Tolkalina / Lyubov Tolkalina, Elvira Bolgova, Julia Peresild / Yulia Peresild, Alexander Skotnikov, Alexander Golubev, Leonid Bičevin / Leonid Bichevin
Contact: Central Partnership


Katya Shagalova

Film Director

Armen Dishdishyan

Sales Agent


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