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Miss GULAG
Produced by Irina Vodar and Raphaela Neihausen, A film by Maria Yatskova
Russia, 2007, 62 minutes, Color, DVD, Russian, English subtitles
Order No. W10985
MISS GULAG is a rare look at the lives of the first generation of women to come of age in post-Soviet Russia, where women’s unemployment and incarceration rates are very high. Shot inside a Siberian prison camp and the surrounding countryside, this absorbing documentary traces the individual paths of three young women now at different points in their lives: Tatiana, whose parole hearing and early release are captured on film; Natasha, living in freedom with her family in a remote village; and Yulia, not yet twenty and facing still more prison time. Like their individual circumstances, the shared experience of long jail sentences has made them vigilant about their own destinies. Incarceration and an environment of constant surveillance are harsh, but no less so than life outside. Yet all three women, their families, and loved ones are sustained by hope.

Discovering an Internet item about an annual beauty pageant staged by women inmates of UF91-9, director Maria Yatskova (born in Moscow and living in the US since the age of five) was inspired to make MISS GULAG. The film’s compelling, moving stories of survival shed light on democracy’s darker side and offer a look at the issues facing women in post Soviet Russia.



AWARDS, FESTIVALS, & SCREENINGS


Moscow International Human Rights Film Festival, Best Debut Feature
Saratov Film Festival, Best Debut Feature

  • Berlin International Film Festival
  • Silverdocs Documentary Festival
  • Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • Morelia International Human Rights Film Festival
  • Vienna International Human Rights Film Festival
  • Dallas Video Festival
  • ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival
  • Warsaw International Film Festival

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QUOTES

    “Offers a poignant look at the lives of three young women condemned to long years of imprisonment in a bleak provincial setting, and at the problems they and their families face following the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
    Barbara Engel
    Distinguished Professor, Dept. of History, University of Colorado

    “A powerful portrait of contemporary Russia…Shows continuity between the world of a prison and the world outside.”
    Mikhail Iampolski
    Prof. Comparative Literature, Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University

    “A smashing debut by a young documentarian who discovers a unique way to investigate contemporary Russian society.”
    Kirk Honeycutt
    The Hollywood Reporter

    "Highly Recommended...fascinating documentary."
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “Simply one of the finest documentaries of this decade."
    Paul E. Richardson
    Russian Life

    “Recommended.”
    Video Librarian

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