Katja Fedulova: Kirill Serebrennikov – The Art and the Power in Russia

(2018, ZDF/ARTE)
A cinematic portrait of the Russian theatre, film and opera director, his tense relationship with the Russian state and the changing cultural policies of his home country.

52 min, in German and French
Available until 25 July 2020

Due to current events and by courtesy of arte, we showed the documentary “Kirill Serebrennikov – The Art and the Power in Russia” at Berliner Festspiele on Demand from 26 June to 25 July 2020.

As it became known on 26 June 2020, Kirill Serebrennikov has been found guilty of fraud by a Moscow court and was given a suspended sentence. The charges brought forward in the trial, which has been going on for years, involve the embezzlement of state funding, an accusation that Serebrennikov and his defence have always denied. The trial is considered to be politically motivated and has attracted international attention.

The cinematic portrait of the documentary filmmaker Katja Fedulova traces how the Russian theatre, film and opera director has been reacting in his stage plays and later also in his feature films and opera productions to current social and political developments in Russia since the end of the 2000s, until the tables finally turned and he himself attracted the attention of politicians and the judiciary.

Serebrennikov’s career began in a deceptively short heyday of artistic freedom in Russia under President Dmitry Medvedev. The documentary shows the enormous spectrum of Serebrennikov’s artistic work, his appointment as director of the Moscow Gogol Center and his rise to become an internationally sought-after director. But the supposed freedom of art in the country did not last long and is now in great danger with the resurgence of conservative forces in the Kremlin since Vladimir Putin's re-election as president in 2012 and the subsequent reorientation of the country's cultural policy. From now on, Russian artists repeatedly become the playthings of cultural policy and come under the scrutiny of the judiciary.

In her polyphonic film, Katja Fedulova shows the threatening relationship between art and state power in Russia and the almost unwavering artistic willpower and productivity of Kirill Serebrennikov.