New documentary film festival celebrating Russian filmmakers

Buzz, Film

Bertha DocHouse presents two highlights from a vital new documentary film festival spotlighting important filmmakers in Russia and the surrounding region in partnership with Klassiki.

Running from 20th July until 10th August, Klassiki, the world’s first streaming platform dedicated to cinema from Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia, will spotlight a selection of urgent new documentaries from new and established documentary voices from Russia and the region.

Bertha DocHouse, based at The Brunswick Centre, London, will bring two of the best films from this collection into the cinema for people who want to appreciate them fully on a big screen.

The two films being spotlighted are:

‘The Earth is Blue as an Orange’ (Screening at Bertha Dochouse Tuesday 20th July, 6.30 PM BST and online for viewers outside of London on Klassiki at, for one week only, from Tues 20th July – Tues 27th July, accompanied by an introduction from director Irina Tsilyk)

A completely novel take on the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, seen through the eyes of a family living on the frontline in Donbass, The Earth is Blue as an Orange not only offers a unique window into the everyday life of those living amid armed conflict but is itself a meta-documentary that questions the very role of art in war-torn communities. With the subjects of Tsilyk’s gaze in the process of making their own film, the family’s everyday reality intertwines with their own fictional narrative. In turn, the act of filmmaking becomes the family’s primary vehicle for dealing with the traumas of the outside world. A powerful debut that turns the war narrative on its head while bringing into sharp focus the importance of cinema during times of disaster. This film won a directing award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance Film Festival in 2020.

‘Gorbachev. Heaven’ (Screening live at Bertha Dochouse on Tuesday 27th July, 6.30 pm BST as well as live on for viewers outside of London from Tues 27th July – Tues 3rd August, accompanied by a live zoom introduction from director Vitaly Mansky)

In Gorbachev. Heaven, founder of ArtDocFest Vitaly Mansky sits down with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, giving an intimate portrayal of one of the 20th century’s most significant historical figures. While Mansky asks Gorbachev necessary and pressing questions, their series of conversations are interspersed with outbursts of singing, feasting and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Gorbachev, aware of his ill-health and old age, seems to be offering us his final testimony. His retelling of the final days of the Soviet Union is interesting but it is the more candid glimpses into the life of this titan of Russia’s history that are most striking. Several events in the late 20th century have ensured Gorbachev’s name will remain in posterity – glasnost and perestroika, the Chernobyl disaster, to name a few.