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Russia, 1997 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Lidia Bobrova

In That Land is a rare journey into a world which in many respects has not changed in a hundred years. Its territory is a small village in the north of Russia, a region which for better or worse has been largely overlooked by the probing eyes of the modern world. The film centres around three main characters who come to signify the essence of the Russian soul. Chapurin is the village's team-leader who takes care of the people, yet will betray them for the right price. A shepherd, Skuridin, feels the weight of a difficult family life and harsh political realities on his shoulders. Lastly there is Zaika, a talented soul wasting his life on alcohol. Facing an unforgiving landscape, they embrace life and death in ways unique to their circumstances, universal in spirit.

The acute sensitivity of Lidia Bobrova's In That Land has earnt the film important international recognition, including the Grand Prix at the Créteil International Women's Film Festival in France, and the prestigious Peace Award at this year's International Berlin Film Festival. Rising above expectations, the film avoids victimising its characters or stirring saccarhin sympathy for their hardships. Instead, everyday life is laid bare, its struggles defined with endearing humour intact. The result is a lyrical film with rich characterisation and brutal realism. In That Land is a triumph.

"Russia looks to me like an iceberg, with Moscow, St Petersburg and the provincial towns forming the above-water part, while the god-forsaken depths of the country make up its underwater bulk. It is there that its real personages are living, and their stories are as eternal as life itself, with its inevitable need to choose between good and evil." - Lidia Bobrova

Lidia Bobrova is a guest of the Festival

Lidia Bobrova was born in 1952. She studied history at the University of Leningrad and scriptwriting at the Moscow Film School. While studying advanced courses in script and direction she made her first film, Oh, You Geese... (1997).

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