Pavlov´s Dogs

    Pavlovin Koirat

    • Arto Halonen
    • Finland
    • 2005
    • 70 min
    • World Premiere
    • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
    If you always turn on the light when you feed the dog, the dog will react happily every time the light is switched on. The discovery of this conditioned reflex is credited to the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. It is a beloved anecdote of entertainment specialist Sergej Knyazev. “People taking part in one of our events will book us too, out of reflex.” Knyazev is a psychologist by trade, but by developing games for children he ended up in show business. Along with his business partner Vladimir Viktorovitsj, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, he organises striking events in Moscow. For example, the duo scores very well with a cockroach race and a piglet race, and they also facilitate classic duels. The documentary, shot in fly-on-the-wall style but containing edited interview fragments, consists of the three chapters Animal & Insects, Rich People and Crowds. This structure makes it clear that Knyazev does not fight shy of the grandest possible approach. For large companies, such as the Swedish based cosmetic company Oriflame, Knyazev organises mass motivation events, successfully manipulating employees to behave more effectively at work. For bored rich people, he devised a game in which participants pay $3,000 each to dress as beggars and compete in a begging battle. The indefatigable Russian was followed for quite some time; as a result, Pavlov’s Dogs is not only a portrait of a born entertainer, but also a look into the lifestyle of the upper crust of the modern metropolis Moscow.


    • 70 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: Russian
    Arto Halonen
    Arto Halonen for Art Films Production Ltd.
    Studio East-West, Finnish Film Foundation, AVEK, Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture in Finland, Nordisk Film & TV Fond
    Vladimir Bashta, Dmitri Avrorin, Arto Halonen, Igor Tsernysov
    Sanna Liinamaa

    IDFA history

    World Premiere
    IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

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