Sleeping Souls

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    Sleeping Souls

    Les Âmes dormantes

    Directed by



    52 min

    • Russian


    Alexander Abaturov films the 2012 presidential election in Achinsk, a Siberian town to which Soviet dissidents and, before them, the Tsar’s opponents were deported. Inspired by the satirical sense of detail in Gogol’s Dead Souls, he focuses more on fragments than a full portrait. The result is a film inhabited by something smaller but also something bigger than characters: gestures and faces linger in our mind without our understanding what moves them. The woman employed by Putin’s United Russia party, whose machine-like professionalism reflects a strangely apolitical attitude, or the look in the eyes of a deputy posing for his campaign photo, certain perhaps that the die is already cast. To counterpoint these eloquent sketches of the system’s corruption, the editing introduces a chilling interview with a “mercenary” of power, whose lucid analysis ultimately reveals the same ideological indifference. Is the theatre – with its splendid excerpts from a satirical, cabaret-style play – the only place that vibrates with political vitality? The distant news of anti-Putin demonstrations echo faintly in Achinsk, like noises heard when asleep: the sleeper incorporates them into his dream but lacks the strength to wake up. Until the moment when…


    • Institut Français Award - Cinéma du Réel


    Alexander Abaturov
    Vincent Sorrel
    Artyom Petrov
    Luc Forveille
    Alexander Abaturov

    Alexander Abaturov


    Alexander Abaturov was born in 1984 in Russia. After graduating from Gorki University, he became a journalist. In 2010, he obtained a Master Degree from the French documentary School in Lussas. In 2013, he made his first documentary, SLEEPING SOULS, selected in numerous festivals and awarded the Institut Français Prize at the Cinéma du Réel Festival. THE SON is his first feature length documentary.

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