Little Perestroika

The observation and representation of changes, no matter how inconspicuous has been one of documentary film´s capabilities as an art form right from the start. Bernhard Pötscher´s first independent cinematic work already promises change in the title, and even furnishes this with a quantifying attribute: in comparison to the restructuring and modernization process introduced in the Soviet Union in early 1986, the change that Pötscher´s film describes is a less weighty reconstruction, that is, a Little Perestroika.

The setting for the film is the Kyrgyz Republic, which at the time of filming had just seen the end of its second democratic revolution (after the Tulip Revolution in 2005), a violent, ethnic conflict between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek people in the south of the country, and the passing of a constitutional amendment, which intended to reverse, once and for all, the persistent trend towards an authoritarian presidential democracy. The scene is thus one of considerable political turnover whose dimensions one is able to garner from the film only because it so consistently puts them in relation to the work and subjective experience of its protagonist, Shailo Djekshenbaev, a freelance photographer.

In this way, the film achieves what inevitably remains beyond reach of all fact-oriented foreign coverage: concentration on the internal speed of the transformation. This appears as a condition, which changes only minimally from beginning to end: from the tears over the state of the Kyrgyz people through to the half-hearted attempt to get rid of the wallpapers from the Soviet era. As event, a revolution remains always extrinsic to experience. The perestroika reveals its relativizing power first when measured through the perceptions of a protagonist. (Vrääth Öhner)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Orig. Title
Kleine Perestrojka
Year
2012
Country
Austria
Duration
90 min
Category
Documentary
Orig. Language
not specified
Subtitles
english, german
Downloads
Credits
Director
Bernhard Pötscher
Cinematography
Bernhard Pötscher
Editing
Bernhard Pötscher
Sound
Atanas Tcholakov
Sound Design
Atanas Tcholakov
Production
Bernhard Pötscher
Supported by
Land Oberösterreich, bm:ukk
Links
Available Formats
Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Sound Format
Dolby stereo
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
colour
Festivals (Selection)
2012
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Linz - Crossing Europe Film Festival
2013
Jeonju - International Film Festival
Warsaw - Docs Against Gravity Film Festival