Archive of films The Machine is Here / Mašina prišla

2001, 15 min

Section: East of the West
Year: 2002

Peter is an eccentric and happy old man, Paul is a young intellectual with doubts about the world. Both live in an old house in St Petersburg, and Paul doesn’t pay much heed to Peter’s conviction that he’ll soon be moving to a new flat. When it indeed happens Paul must ponder the source of the old man’s optimism in life and the goodness he shows to others. Could it be his faith in God?


A special vehicle takes care of removing waste from a certain old St Petersburg quarter. Every day the ever-smiling pensioner Peter notifies his neighbours of its arrival. The old man’s irrepressible optimism and eccentric philosophy fascinates the young intellectual Paul, but he doesn’t take very seriously Peter’s conviction that he’ll soon be moving. When one day the old man doesn’t show up, the concerned Paul seeks him out in his overcrowded communal flat. Peter is ill, but welcomes him into his shabby room with an ingenuous smile and impresses Paul once again by his equanimity, worthy of a stoic. Soon after, an official visits the communal flat and offers the motley company of tenants new places to live. The old man leaves with the few things he’s got to his name. In retrospect, the doubting Paul realises just how beneficial faith in God is to a person’s life and the conviction that we are part of His plan and essence.

About the director

Sergei Potemkin (b. 1978) has worked as a journalist for the television program House of Film in his home town of St Petersburg since 1997. At the same time he studied at the State University of Film and Television. In 1997-99 he gained experience in Poland under Krzysztof Zanussi. After the short video films Othello (1998) and King Lear (1999) he made the short The Machine Is Here (2001) based on Igor Hercev’s short story “Old Man” (“Starik”).

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: East of the West
Director: Sergei Potemkin
Screenplay: Igor Gercev/Igor Hertzev, Sergej Poťomkin/Segei Potemkin podle povidky/based on the novel by I. Gercev
Dir. of Photography: Innokentij Ammsov/Innokenti Ammsov
Music: Oleg Karavajčuk/Oleg Karavaichuk
Editor: Leda Semjonova/Leda Semionova
Producer: Vitalij Poťomkin/Vitali Potemkin, Sergej Poťomkin/Sergei Potemkin, Sofia Morris
Production: International Cinema House Plus Fund, koprodukce/co-production: University of Film and Television
Cast: Nikolaj Trofimov/Nicolai Trofimov, Gennadij Smirnov/Gennadi Smirnov, Semjon Fourman/Semion Fourman

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