Filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky

    • set 3 documentaries

    ‘Don’t film if you can live without filming.’ That’s the first of the 10 rules that Russian documentarian Victor Kossakovsky (b. 1961) drew up for fellow filmmakers upon IDFA’s request. His final rule? ‘Don't follow my rules. Find your own rules. There is always something that only you can film and nobody else.’

    Kossakovsky is a prime example of a filmmaker who finds his own rules. He is the auteur of a very original body of work, and one that reveals a great love for humanity.

    Kossakovsky came to IDFA for the first time in 1993 with Belovy, a poignant yet funny and loving portrait of Michail and Anna Belov, a simple Russian couple from the countryside. Belovy was the only film in the history of IDFA to win the award for feature-length documentary as well as the audience award.

    Since then, audiences have seen Kossakovsky return to IDFA on a regular basis. In 1998, he won the Special Jury Award with Pavel and Lyalya (a Jerusalem Romance), about a Russian couple in Israel. In 2006, he gave a master class on his often-cited 10 rules. And in 2012, as IDFA’s guest of honor, he offered another master class and presented his personal Top 10 favorite documentaries, containing work from Alexander Sokurov and Herz Frank.

    Kossakovsky’s own retrospective, which also screened in 2012, included gems like Tishe! (2002), for which he spent an entire year filming road works from the window of his Saint Petersburg home. And Svyato (2005), about his two-year-old son seeing his reflection for the first time. There was also ¡Vivan las antipodas! (2011), a marvelous documentary about antipodes: people who quite literally live on opposite sides of the globe from one another – a Spaniard across from a New Zealander, an Argentine across from a Chinese, and so forth. ¡Vivan las antipodas! highlights the worldwide humanism and the playful drive to experiment so intrinsic to Victor Kossakovsky, master of the self-made rules.

    Screened at IDFA (with year of production): Habitat (1986, short); Losev (1989, short); The Other Day (1991, short); The Belovs (1993); Wednesday 19.07.1961 (1997); Pavel and Lyalya (a Jerusalem Romance) (1998, short); I Loved You (2000); Kindergarten (2000, short); Tishe! (2002); Svyato (2005, short); ¡Vivan las antipodas! (2011); Focus Forward: DisplAir (2012, short); Lullaby (2012, short); Demonstration (2013); Varicella (2015, short).

    Documentaries in this selectie


    • Victor Kossakovsky
    • 2012

    Some homeless men lay sleeping on the floor of a bank vestibule. If you want to use the ATM, you'll have to step right over them or find somewhere else.

    ¡ Vivan las antipodas!

    • Victor Kossakovsky
    • 2011

    A playful portrait of four pairs of geographical antipodes: Argentina and China, Spain and New Zealand, Hawaii and Botswana, and Russia and Chile.


    • Victor Kossakovsky
    • 2005

    Victor Kossakovsky’s two-year-old son Svyato sees his own reflection for the first time.