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Fragile Memory

Хрупкая память

A famous soviet cinematographer Leonid Burlaka, who worked at Odessa Film Studio since 60’s and shot iconic soviet films such as “The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed”, suddenly gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

At the same time Ihor, his grandson and emerging Ukrainian cinematographer, accidentally finds a hidden and heavily damaged part of grandpa’s photo archive: film rolls of masterpiece pictures portray the life of Soviet youth in the early 1960’s Moscow. The portrayal is highly subjective and informal - in a contrast with the known state-produced archives of that time. For Ihor those are even more fascinating - it is a first time when he sees grandpa Leonid not as a greybeard, but as a young man, same age as Ihor is now.
This discovery pushes Ihor to realise that he knows almost nothing about the grandpa. So he starts a journey to find anything that was connected to Leonid’s life. He sets off to Warsaw, Moscow and Washington to dig into the archives of grandpa’s closest filmschool friends featured in the archive, searches almost forgotten grandpa's movies and rescues one by one letters, pictures, records connected with Leonid and neglected by others. Ihor dives into all controversiality of so-called ‘Khrushchev Thaw’ times: figuring out how notorious soviet cinema machine was and how limited was the proposed concept of ‘freedom’. But Ihor is also puzzled with the current radical way of dealing with memories due to the active Politics of ‘Decommunisation’ and mass rejection of anything claimed as 'Soviet'.

But furthermore, Ihor understands that they actually have so much in common with Leonid: the same point of the cinematographic career, same personal struggles and same dilemmas in preserving memory. And this is what brings him back to the same kitchen of the grandpa’s apartment where he started. Because the time is running out: very soon Leonid will not remember Igor at all.
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