Just Another Year
Ruslan Fedotow (director)
A year-long observation of passengers in the Moscow metro that, through a melancholic kaleidoscope of scenes, embraces momentous events in the everyday lives of contemporary Russian citizens.
The Moscow metro is one of the ten largest subways in the world. It is more than 400km in length, and is used by 6–7 million passengers a day. Many stations resemble exhibition halls or cathedrals, with the dramatic history of Soviet Russia depicted on their walls. When the Bolsheviks came to power, many churches were closed or demolished, and in their place, people were given these – massive metro stations specially designed to evoke feelings similar to those of entering a church. Grandiose interiors transform this simple means of transportation into a portal of sorts, where time flows as it pleases. In the year 2020, the underground world of the Moscow metro continues to reflect, as a mirror, the reality of the world above. In contrast to the cars travelling overhead, in which everyone is confined to their own space, the metro stands out as the most significant public space where one can observe the lives of ordinary citizens of the capital of Russia. This underground world is home to events both internal and external – events that are at once random and cyclical.
The film is structured across one calendar year, starting with Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s Eve speech and ending with another speech celebrating the new year – a different one, and yet the same, given by the same president one year later. This is “a road movie” encapsulated in the Moscow metro system and filmed over the course of one year: a documentary film that observes cultural and social issues in modern Russia. It is a study with elements of absurdist tragicomedy, with no central characters; instead, it is a wide-angle portrait of society with all the joys and challenges that it entails. The structure of the film is reminiscent of a collage of scenes and events, organised one after the other to form a whole canvas, captured throughout the year. The film cannot be completed in a hurry; it requires full immersion into this underground world, bound by rules and habits of its own creation. The film will present the kaleidoscope of important social events: the non-stop celebration of New Year; a meditative pilgrimage of people with portraits of their deceased grandparents during the Victory Day celebrations of 9 May; spring festivities on 8 March – Women’s Day, which has nothing to do with the original European version – a day when men all suddenly appear with flowers in their hands; and Frontier Guards Day and Air Forces Day, when even children wear military clothes and everyone gets into the spirit of militarism.
Born in Belarus, and began his career as cinematographer. Graduated from the Academy of Arts in 2012 and moved to Moscow, where he graduated from the Moscow School of New Cinema in 2015. Since then, he started to experiment as a documentary filmmaker. His first movie with Sasha Kulak, Salamanca, was premiered at the IDFA (Mid-Length competition) in 2015. His second movie, Songs for Kit was selected by the IDFA (Mid-Length competition) in 2017. In addition to these films, he has worked as cinematographer for many documentary movies that have screened at festivals such as the LA Film Festival, Vision du Réel, Hotdocs, etc.