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
Why does an apparently large majority in Russia back Vladimir Putin? As a firsthand account from the heart of Russia, this documentary highlights the impact of aggressive propaganda in Russia on the population. It is set on a lost island in the Caspian Sea, where people have been left to fend for themselves since the collapse of the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the USSR, the collective fishing industry, which once functioned well, was banned. Since then, there is neither gas nor electricity on the island, neither legal jobs nor doctors. For Ivan, a third-generation fisherman, there is only one way to support his family: illegal fishing. Drunk on state propaganda on television, Ivan nevertheless believes that Putin could fix everything for him and his family.
Written & directed by
Director of Photography
Second Camera / Drone Pilot
World Sales: Taskovski Films
A production of DOKLAB GMBH in coproduction with 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.
© DokLab GmbH 2021