German filmmaker made a film about life in Belarus
“89 Millimeters” – a new documentary by a young German filmmaker Sebastian Heinzel. 89 millimeters is the difference between the width of railway tracks in former Soviet Union and elsewhere in Europe.
Trains from Europe have to change tracks in Belarus, so 89 mm stands for symbolic difference between living in the West and living in Belarus.
The film talks about growing up in Belarus. 70 minutes long, it features six young people – an actress who has to work as a go-go dancer in a night club, a patriotic soldier, a worker recently released from jail, a journalist of a youth newspaper recently closed by the authorities, a former policeman, now a political refugee, and a member of unregistered youth resistance movement. The film shows their everyday life, their work and free time, their attitude to basic values like freedom and happiness.
Extraordinary camerawork by young German cameraman Eugen Schlegel, good sound and cutting-edge editing definitely make this film an achievement in modern documentary cinema. “There is too much vodka in the film”, some journalists said after the presentation. “I felt vodka was an important part of my protagonists’ life, so I had to show it”, director says.
In Belarus “89 Millimeters” was shot with assistance of Belarus Productions. Just released in Germany, the film has already won special mention of the jury at the documentary festival in Kassel, 2004. In August 2005 the film was shown at an underground presentation in Minsk. Later this Autumn “89 Millimeters” is planned for theatrical release.