From May 13 to 19, in Transnistria was held the fourth edition of the Documentary Film Festival Chesnok – the travelling festival, whose program was presented in five cities: Tiraspol, Bender, Dubasari, Ribnita and in the capital of Moldova – Chisinau.
A unique event for the region was first held in May 2016. The main goal of the festival is to familiarize a wide audience with actual documentary film, stimulate the production of local content, as well as create a free discussion platform.
This year the festival program for the first time consisted not only of an international program – and this is about 20 films-participants and winners of the largest international documentary film festivals over the past few years – for the first time we had a local competition program of the films of Transnistrian and Moldavian directors. Just like in 2018, in 2019 the program has the special section “Young Chesnok” – documentaries for children and teenagers 12+.
At the festival venues, as before, meetings and discussions were held with invited guests – directors, protagonists of films and experts from various fields related to the subject of films. Another special event of Garlic 2019 was a three-day documentary film workshop for beginners with Sergei Kachkin. The workshop resulted in three short films created by the participants and screening for the first time during the festival.
Chesnok was supported by Czech NGO People in Need, The Embassy of German Republic in Moldova, The Embassy of Kingdom of Netherland in Bucharest and television and digital news network Current Time.
Chesnok is a non-profit project, so admission to all screenings is free of charge.
The program of the 4th edition of the festival:
Zosya Rodkevich, Evgeniya Ostanina, Russia, 2018, 97 min.
Alina and her family have been put under severe strain. The woman, who has six black-skinned children born out of her relationship with an Ethiopian man, decides to adopt a white boy with mental health problems. Will the characters have enough good will and sufficient child-raising skills to tame – and love – the little tyrant? A film for those who have nerves of steel as it takes viewers to the very centre of the family hell.
Astrid Bussink, the Netherlands, 2017, 15 min.
Listen presents a cross-section of conversations between children and the Kindertelefoon (Child Helpline). One girl talks about being home alone virtually all week; another’s sad because her parents are getting divorced. A boy in an asylum seekers’ center is worried about the future, while another boy doesn’t want to be gay and hopes these feelings will pass. Every day, the Kindertelefoon takes calls like these from children who want someone to talk to. But children also call to talk about their pets, to practice their audition for The Voice Kids or to make pranks…
Catherine van Campen, the Netherlands, 2011, 21 min.
Eleven-year-old Anne wavers between being bossy and shy, daring and introverted, accomplished and frustrated. A typical tween, she fights with her sisters and courts a young admirer. Atypically, she compulsively twirls and licks objects. Flying Anne is a three-dimensional portrait of a girl with Tourette’s looking for love, acceptance and understanding, just like the rest of us.
Kim Brand, the Netherlands, 2017, 16 min.
Two boys from Holland are headed on a big journey, traveling to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos where their mothers volunteer. How will the boys bridge such big differences in language, culture, and experiences to make friends and build meaningful bonds?
When Paul Came over the Sea
Jakob Preuss, Germany, 2017, 97 min.
Paul has made his way from his home in Cameroon across the Sahara to the Moroccan coast. This is where he meets Jakob, a filmmaker from Berlin, who is filming along Europe’s borders. Soon afterwards, Paul manages to cross over to Spain on a rubber boat. He survives – but half of his companions die on this tragic 50-hour odyssey. Held for two months in a deportation centre, upon his release Paul meets Jakob again at a shelter for migrants in Southern Spain. When Paul decides to continue on to Germany, Jakob has to make a choice: will he become an active part of Paul’s pursuit of a better life or remain a detached documentary filmmaker?
Film for Carlos
Renato Borrayo Serrano, Russia, 2017, 31 min.
My son Carlos has just been born. He is the sweetest of babies, but his grandmother is very sorry that he was born with dark skin. Grandfather Sergey Mikhailovich wants to drink to the health of his grandson and celebrate this event, but grandmother doesn’t allow him to drink. Grandfather wants Carlos to know that he was born in the Great Russian Empire. This is Carlos’s first New Year’s Day, and I made a movie so that he would remember it, and to talk about the hilarious and painful things happening in my new family.
Bálint Révész, UK/Germany/Hungary, 2017, 89 min.
“Granny Project” is a seven-year- long investigation of three young men coming to terms with their heritage through the extraordinary lives of their grandmothers: an English spy, a dancer from Nazi Germany and a Hungarian communist Holocaust survivor.
These guys move back and forth across Europe at the same time as their grandmothers set off on a virtual journey of memory. They transport their grannies back to their youth and in doing so provide us with an insight into the transcendental connection between grandparents and grandchildren, on the verge of the 21st century.
Kristina Kuzhakhmetova, Russia, 2016, 27 min.
The piercing stories of small people who live among the broad fields of Altai and seek to find the meaning of life and beauty, even in the midst of an oppressive void.
Some Things Are Hard to Talk About
Stefanie Brockhaus, Germany, 2016, 75 min.
In the middle of a relationship crisis I get pregnant. My boyfriend threatens, that our relationship will not support a second child. Do I keep the baby? I am confronted with the memoirs of an abortion I had ten years before. Never had I imagined that this would play a role in my life again. Neither did I expect to unravel the secrets of abortion in my family, which took place over three generations.
Vitaly Mansky, Latvia/Switzerland/Czech Republic, 2018, 102 min.
The events of the film begin on December 31, 1999 when Russia was acquainted with its new President Vladimir Putin. The film is based on unique and strictly documentary testimonies of the true causes and consequences of the operation “Successor”, as a result of which Russia ended up with the President who still rules the country. The protagonists of the film are Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian nation, as always being a silent witness of its own destiny.
Askold Kurov, Russia 2018, 75 min.
Since the year 2000, the editorial office of Novaya Gazeta, the recipient of more than 60 prestigious awards, and a three-time nominee for the Nobel Prize, has lost six of its members—journalists who searched relentlessly for inconvenient truths. The documentary offers a unique opportunity to observe the daily work of their colleagues and successors. Over the course of 18 months, the film records not only what they discuss in editorial meetings, but also how they choose their subjects, and how they respond to the sudden kidnapping of one of their editors.
«Домашние игры» / Home Games
Alisa Kovalenko, Ukraine/France/Poland, 2018, 86 min.
A story from the life of Alina, a 20-year-old girl from a poor family in Kyiv, who has a chance to be rescued through football. She’s about to join the Ukrainian national team when life poses a new challenge: girl’s mother dies, leaving her with two little siblings. Now, Alina must choose between football and family.
Anastasia Kuzyakova, Russia, 2016, 19 min.
In 2016, an HIV epidemic was announced in Russia: more than 1,000,000 patients, and more than half of them are women. Today this number continues to grow. This film tells the story of three women living with HIV for more than 10 years. Opening their faces, they will honestly and directly tell you about the history of their illness and life today.
Nastia Korkia, Cuba, 2017, 5 min.
A short story based on themes of loneliness and memory. Should we forget everything or should we keep our memories? This film will provide no answers.
Gogita’s New Life
Levan Koguashvili, Georgia/Croatia/Russia/Ukraine, 2016, 71 min.
After 14 years in prison, the time has come for Gogita to return to his normal life. He’s longing for a home of his own and to marry a nice woman. But who would be interested in a poor farmer and ex-con who still lives with his mother? Then he meets Maka on the internet. She’s not that young anymore, and she’s not the prettiest girl in the world, but she can bake delicious cakes. They’re soon making grand plans without even having met. What unfolds is a tragicomic tale of a simple man and woman looking for love in a world that’s placing high demands on them, a tender and humorous glimpse into the life of a Georgian man.
A Butcher’s Heart
Marijn Frank, Netherlands, 2017, 15 min.
A Butcher’s Heart is a children’s documentary about the 13 year old Wessel. He is proud of his family business; the abattoir and the butcher’s shop, however Wessel is doubting his future. Does he want to work with living animals or will he become a butcher, just like his tough father and grandfather?
Czech Journal: the Limits of Work
Apolena Rychlíková, Czech Republic, 2017, 70 min.
Journalist Saša Uhlová spent six months exploring working conditions at the worst-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She spent several weeks in a hospital washroom, at a poultry plant, behind a cash register and at a waste sorting facility. Her experience formed the basis for a very personal series of reports about people working invisible jobs under shocking conditions, published on the A2larm.cz website. Apolena Rychlíková has turned these articles into a documentary film consisting of scenes shot at Uhlová’s home and of video footage taken at her places of work, accompanied by Uhlová’s read commentary.
A Woman Captured
Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, Hungary/Germany, 2017, 89 min.
A European woman has been kept by a family as a domestic slave for 10 years. Drawing courage from the filmmaker’s presence, she decides to escape the unbearable oppression and become a free person.