dir. Sasha Kulak / France, Great Britain / 2022 / 62’
Kinoteka, plac Defilad 1, Warszawa, Polska
Director(s): Sasha Kulak
Writer(s): Sasha Kulak
Cinematography: Sasha Kulak
Editing: Sasha Kulak
Sound: Paata Godziashvili, Nika Paniashvili
Music: Pavel Bocharov
Producer(s): Louis Beaudemont, Ksenia Gorenstein
Production: Les Steppes Productions
World sales: East Silver Caravan
Language(s): Russian, Belarusian
Mara is a hybrid experimental documentary essay. We see the violence that has spread all over Belarus, as Alexander Lukashenko clings to power after disputed and controversial election results. There are groups of military in black with their faces covered. They don’t even need reasons to arrest.
A young woman in the form of Mara, a female spirit in Slavic culture who comes to people in their sleep to bring them dreams or nightmares. Through the mythical character, she tries to cope with frightening reality. She creates hyper visuals to describe the emotional experiences of ordinary people. The narrative invites the viewer to join Mara while she watches the story unfold, haunted by the scenes on the street she is caught between facing her reality and escaping into her dreams. The film flips between esthetical dream images and real footage of police brutality. This is an essay about a communal nightmare, a nightmare which has bound a whole nation together.
FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
International Film Festival Rotterdam, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (Silver Eye Award), goEast Film Festival, WATCH DOCS International Film Festival, Artdocsfest, Movies That Matter, FFF-Festival, Northern Lights Nordic/Baltic Film Fest, Beldocs
Sasha’s work in film spans a variety of visual projects ranging from documentary to fashion and music videos to photography and curation. Her films have taken her across the world. Her first award-winning documentary “Salamanca” (2015), premiered at IDFA 2015 and screened at Hot Docs, Camden and a number of other festivals. “Quicksilver Chronicles” (2019), shot in the USA, premiered at the Visions du Réel in Nyon. Her newest feature film, a documentary fairytale “A Hawk as Big as a Horse” (2022), was supported by the Sundance Institute and received Special Mention in the International Competition at DOK Leipzig 2022, among others. Being exposed to both fiction and documentary film practises has helped Sasha merge her interests into one while working on the film “Mara” (2022), integrating harsh reality and fairy tales.