Garage People

Film still: Garage People© Axel Schneppat / Tamtam Film
Documentary, Human Interest, 2020, 95 min.
Original title: Garagenvolk
Language: Russian with English subtitles
Director: Natalija Yefimkina
Screenplay: Natalija Yefimkina
Cinematography: Axel Schneppat
Producers: Andrea Schütte, Dirk Decker
Festivals: Berlinale 2020, CHP:DOX 2020, Crossing Europe Linz 2020, DocAviv 2020, IDFA 2020, Artdoc Riga/Moscow 2020, Trieste Film Festival 2021, DocPoint Helsinki 2021 
Awards: Heiner Carow Prize Berlinale 2020, EURIMAGES Audentia Award 2020, Werner Herzog Film Award 2020, nominated for the German Documentary Award 

When it comes to expressing their individualism, American males have their “man caves”. But for certain rural Russians, it’s the garage that provides a window into their personal lives. Director Natalija Yefimkina spent four years earning the trust of her subjects in Russia’s far north. With a sociologist’s eye, she documents their special boltholes: one is used for breeding quails, another for the rehearsals of a punk band. There’s a metal workshop and one for carving wooden icons. Perhaps most surprising is the enterprising man who spent a lifetime excavating his space, so that it now encompasses four underground levels. It’s a legacy that he will bequeath to his grandson. – Alissa Simon

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