Boris Ryzhy

  • Aliona van der Horst
  • Netherlands
  • 2008
  • 59 min
  • 25 years Highlights of the Lowlands
On the streets of the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, people have little interest in the past. Or could it be director Aliona van der Horst's camera that puts off the former neighbors of the Russian poet Boris Ryzhy? In any case, when Van der Horst and Ryzhy's sister come knocking at their doors they cannot recall the promising young man seven years after his death - he committed suicide in 2001 at the age of 26. But this is precisely what brings the filmmaker closer to Ryzhy. Both his life and poems were determined by the closed, distrustful character of the dismal industrial city, where crime has flourished since the democratization of Russia. Apart from Ryzhy's sister, the film introduces his wife and their son, who is now 15. But the chief resource Van der Horst has at her disposal is Ryzhy himself. Sometimes warmhearted, other times blunt, he recites his work on old sound recordings while we watch the subjects of his poems: his bleak hometown, his crumbling neighborhood and the residents he both admired and reviled. We see Ryzhy in old video footage walking these same streets, a melancholy smile on his face. For a brief moment, he is brought back to life.


  • 59 min
  • color / black and white
  • video
Aliona van der Horst
Frank van den Engel for Zeppers Film & TV
Maasja Ooms, Aliona van der Horst
Maasja Ooms
Aliona van der Horst

IDFA history

25 years Highlights of the Lowlands
World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

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IDFA history

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