Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s “DAU”, Insane Totalitarian Experiment or “Stalinist Truman Show” ?

    “DAU”: The Russian Film Director Ilya Khrzhanovsky paid 400 people to live as Soviet citizens between 2008 and 2011

     Participants lived in replica Stalin-era research institute as part of three-year art project

    The set, like something out of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, was known as The Institute and existed between 2009 and 2011 as a fully-operating community emulating Fifties Moscow.

    Stocked with historically-accurate sculptures, wardrobes and props, locals were inspired to entirely exist, dress and behave as if they were living within a Soviet-era totalitarian regime. Residents would be fined if they smuggled in phones, exhibited tardiness, or attempted to access social media — all of which reportedly improved resident morale.”

    Dau” is a Russian film directed by Ilya Khrzhanovsky. The film deals with the life of the Nobel Prize winning Soviet scientist Lev Landau. The movie is one of Russia’s largest and most controversial cinematic projects.

     The preparation for the shooting for the film began in 2006, whereas the actual shooting started in 2008 and went on for three years.

    The world premiere of the movie was intended to take place at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

    In 2017 “The Telegraph” reported that the film is still being edited and the production company is quoted as saying, “Our project consists of over 700 hours of material all shot on 35mm out of which the company is making feature films, TV series and a slate of science and art documentaries, as well as a trans-media project”.

    The film was shot at various sites in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, United Kingdom and Denmark.

    Most of the film was shot on a specially constructed set called “The Institute” in Kharkiv/Kharkov in northeastern Ukraine.

    “The Institute” was the largest film set in Europe, the area totalling 12,000 sq. meters.

    The set was a dynamic creative reconstruction of a Soviet restricted-access Institute in 1938-1968, located in Moscow.

    Some actors lived in “The Institute” in character 24 hours a day. The destruction of the set became an integral part of the story and was shot on 8 November 2011.

     Teodor Currentzis, a Greek classical conductor, plays the title role of Dau while Radmila Shchegoleva, the only professional actor in the cast, plays his wife.

    Alexei Blinov lead technical development for feature film along with acting in it as Prof. Blinov.

    The cast also included: Anatoly Vasiliev, Dmitry Chernyakov, Olga Shkabarnya, Peter Sellars, Romeo Castellucci, Carsten Höller, Marina Abramović, David Gross, Shing-Tung Yau, Nikita Nekrasov, Carlo Rovelli, James Fallon, and others.

     In July 2018 the project release was announced and preregistration was opened on the web page

    Disclaimer : All excerpts and images used are for non-commercial illustrative purposes. The images used in this site’s posts are found from different sources all over the Internet, and are assumed to be in public domain and are displayed under the fair use principle.


    Latest articles

    Related articles