Twelve-year-old Anton lives with his grandmother in a small house outside Moscow. It is summer vacation, and we watch Anton playing with his friends on a lake, sitting around at home, dancing in front of the mirror, drawing and getting read aloud to by his grandma. He tells the camera what he likes to do for fun. One day, Anton grabs a gigantic backpack and pulls on some army pants that hang low on his slender frame. Just like most other Russian children, Anton will be spending the summer at one of President Putin's youth military training camps. It's very exciting, for the kids get to sleep in army tents, line up for roll call, go on campaigns and practice shooting. No campfires or scouting expeditions, but defense techniques and long marches - this is how you grow up to be big and strong. But politics also play a role at this disciplined summer camp: in a classroom, the children hear from war veterans about the dangers of terrorism and extremism and watch gruesome videos about the continuing violence in the Caucasus. Then they go play "little Chechen" in the woods. This quiet, commentary-free film is bathed in the warm tints of a summer idyll, but it also features children learning to point guns at one another. And if you're big and strong, can you still call home to your grandma?
Julie Freres for Dérives, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Kathleen de Béthune for CBA