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
Awards: Heiner Carow Prize Berlinale 2020

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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