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Ostrov
Lost Island
Documentary feature 2021
CH
92 min.
HD
On the island of Ostrov in the Caspian Sea the inhabitants, left alone by the Russian state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, survive through poaching. Ivan regularly goes out to sea risking his life and freedom. He struggles, he laughs, he dances, he fights and he believes that one day Putin will see their misery and help.
CURRENT CONTEXT - OSTROV - 05.03.2021

In the light of the war that Russia has launched against the sovereign and European country Ukraine, our film OSTROV has taken on an additional and particularly sinister meaning.

For us, the island of Ostrov was a metaphor for contemporary Russia, once again ideologically isolated after a short democratic period following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, however, Russia is turning into an island cut off from the world at all levels: political, economic, cultural and above all moral - a country that finds itself in the role of a pariah, outcast from the so-called democratic or civilized nations.

In our film OSTROV we show the influence of the ferocious propaganda that completely dominates the information space in Russia, while freedom of expression is practically non-existent and independent media are banned or declared “Foreign agents". The inhabitants of Ostrov, like all the Russian people, are thus subjected daily to the lies of a propaganda that portrays Ukraine as a fascist aggressor from which the Russian-speaking rebels of Donbass must be liberated. Thus, an ultra-nationalist narrative is woven around the victory over Nazism during the “Great Patriotic War”, the invincibility of Russia, a strong and powerful army recreated by the will of President Putin. The masses are manipulated by means of a television show in which Vladimir Putin plays the role of the savior of the Russian people, in the face of an aggressive West that lost its values. If we naively thought that propaganda was primarily used to maintain control over the native population, as it is done in all authoritarian regimes, we now understand that it was much more: the Russians have been psychologically prepared for a real war that is taking place two hours by plane from us. We may not have understood the full extent of it, but the film foreshadows the disaster that is unfolding before our eyes today. In this sense, OSTROV, the lost island, is truly premonitory.

SVETLANA RODINA & LAURENT STOOP

Lost in the Caspian Sea, the island of Ostrov was once home to a well-functioning collective fishery. After the fall of the USSR, the farm was destroyed and black caviar extraction was banned. Three thousand people used to live on the island. Today, around fifty remain. The island has no gas nor electricity, no legal jobs, no doctors nor policemen. For Ivan (50), the stubborn descendant of a dynasty of fishermen, there is only one job: illegal fishing. Ivan has been convicted for poaching, yet he goes out to sea again. He has no choice – he either gets the sturgeon or he starves. Sometimes Ivan turns on the generator and watches propaganda on state television. Ivan continues to believe in Putin and Russia's imperial ambitions. His pride for his homeland compensates him for the misery of everyday life. Anna (45) studied and lived in the city when she was young, but fell in love with Ivan and chose the harsh life on the island. They want their children, Anton (19) and Alina (17), to have a better future somewhere else. But Anton, together with his cousin Roman (19), has already started to go out to sea.

an evocative portrait of an imperilled Russian community
Modern Times
a visually stunning, lyrical film
Variety
Such works allow us insights into unknown worlds that would otherwise probably be closed to us forever
NZZ Am Sonntag
Crew

Written & directed by
SVETLANA RODINA
LAURENT STOOP

Editors
ORSOLA VALENTI
KARINE SUDAN
SVETLANA RODINA

Director of Photography
LAURENT STOOP

Second Camera / Drone Pilot
MIKHAIL BUROV

Composer
MARCEL VAID

Sound Design
JEROME CUENDET

Color Grading
CHRISTOPH WALTHER

Producers Switzerland
CORINNA DÄSTNER
SONJA KILBERTUS
URS SCHNELL

Associate Producer
DODO HUNZIKER

World Sales: Taskovski Films

A production of DOKLAB GMBH in coproduction mit SRF Swiss Radio and Television funded by Bundesamt für Kultur, Berner Filmförderung, Cinéforom, Suissimage, Zürcher Filmstiftung, Aargauer Kuratorium, Succès Passage Antenne, Migros Kulturprozent, Fondation Suisa, Alexis Victor Thalberg Stiftung and supported by Swissfilms, Focal and Pitching du Réel 2019.

Cast

IVAN

ANNA

ALINA

ANTON

GALINA

VALERA

TATIANA

ROMAN

TAMANGIZ

UNCLE TOLYA

VANYA

ANATOLY