Archive of films A Place on Earth / Mesto na zemlje
Artur Aristakisian set out with his camera to record Moscow’s disinherited, opponents of the system, seeking the philosophical justification for and practical fulfilment of their beliefs. He spent 1995-96 with a hippie community documenting the inhabitant’s ideological reversals, moral dilemmas, spiritual crises and disillusionment. The total isolation of this bizarre community of men and women, children and animal, beggars and cripples is only disturbed by police raids and attacks by various assailants. But their fanatical faith in the attainability of absolute freedom through free love becomes unbearable for some individuals, including their main ideologist. The filmmaker depicts the shattered reality of the deepest human decline in all its starkest cruelty. At the same time, he gives all events a purely Russian spiritual dimension which resonates with the poetry and moral pathos of an evangelical message.
About the director
Artur Aristakisian (b. 1961, Kishiniev) started making an amateur film about beggars in his hometown and finished it while studying at Moscow’s Film School (VGIK). The result was Palms (Ladoni, 1993), his graduation-debut film, astounding for the extent to which it identifies with the psychology and world of its protagonists. In 1994, the exceptional ethical and aesthetic value of Aristakisian’s debut was recognised with awards at many festivals, and at home he received a Nika for Best Documentary. The director’s notion, that even the poorest of the poor are happy because they live outside the system and are therefore free, is employed in A Place on Earth too, a film shot under amateur conditions using an improvisational method. Like in Palms, the monological text, music and sophisticated sound work to particularise and empower the filmmaker’s message.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|East of the West
|Artur Aristakisian, Irina Shubina
|Dir. of Photography:
|Grigorij Jablochnikov/Grigory Yablochnikov
|Natalie Topková/Nataliya Topkova
|Boris Ajrapetijan/Boris Ajrapetyan
|ABA Studio, Ministry of Culture of Russia
|Anna Verdi, Vitaly Khaev, Roman Atlasov