The New Saint
About IDFA
The New Saint
IDFA 2010

The New Saint

De nieuwe heilige
Allard Detiger
Netherlands, Belgium
68 min
World Premiere
Festival history
In 1996, the 19-year-old Russian soldier Yevgeni Radionov was taken hostage by Chechen rebels. Because he refused to convert to Islam, he was beheaded. Since his death, Radionov has become an icon throughout Russia. People come to his grave from near and far, in admiration for his bravery and tenacity. And after a painting of the deceased soldier that was hung in a church spontaneously started to leak myrrh resin, some diligent attempts began to have Radionov declared a saint. provides a portrait of the mythical Russian and his mother, who made quite an impression with her nine-month search for her son, and who since finding him has completely dedicated herself to young soldiers. She tells her tragic tale (before losing Yevgeni, she lost another son and her husband) while hordes of visitors - including the Russian Hells Angels - place flowers on the grave. The interview with Yevgeni's mother is interspersed with old news excerpts of the boy's kidnapping and death and with footage of the military academy, where new Russian soldiers are being trained. Meanwhile, women work with the utmost precision on yet another gold-leaf icon of the young man: a saint in uniform, Kalashnikov in hand.
    Serendipity Films
    Serendipity Films
Screening copy
    Volya Films
    Volya Films