Victor Kossakovsky, Russia, 1993, color / black and white, 35mm, 60'
It is all very uncomplicated. Anna Feodorovna Belova lives in a small village near the source of the Neva River. She is twice a widow and now lives together with her brother Mikhail. Anna does the housekeeping while Mikhail drinks and philosophizes about life. Occasionally, their two other brothers Vasily and Sergei pay them a visit, and the siblings drink a lot of tea, take a Russian steam bath and argue - arguments that get louder by the minute, especially when alcohol comes into play. Sometimes tender and other times harsh, this portrait of Russian village life was the international breakthrough for Victor Kossakovsky and won him both the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary and the IDFA Audience Award in 1994. There's little luxury in the Belovs' lives, but there is some happiness, in a sense. They have some cows, a dog is running around, and the potatoes need to be dug up. What can go wrong?