Turn Your Body to the Sun

  • Aliona van der Horst
  • Netherlands
  • 2021
  • 93 min
  • World Premiere
  • International Competition

The incredible life story of a Soviet soldier of Tatar descent who was captured by the Nazis during WWII. Today, his daughter Sana is tracing the path of her silent father, trying to understand what made him the man she knew as a child, through his diaries, as well as various personal and public archives and registries. 

As she accompanies Sana in her journey, filmmaker Aliona van der Horst excavates film archives, to find traces of those millions of Soviet soldiers who were caught in the crossfire of fighting between dictators, who were there but were easily left out of the narrative of the global war. 

As she reappropriates the archival footage through the mixed techniques of double pass, zoom-in, and colorization, the filmmaker searches for the soul of the image, for those small and subtle remnants of a massive, yet casually omitted, human tragedy. Softly, but determinately the film starts unfolding this history, breaking sixty years of silence.

Nominated for the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary and the Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award


  • 93 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Russian, Dutch
  • Subtitles in: English (Closed Captioned)
Aliona van der Horst
Ilja Roomans for Docmakers
Rogier Timmermans
Gys Zevenbergen
Rik Meier

IDFA history

World Premiere
International Competition
Round Table Pitch

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IDFA history

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