Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Tishe! 2002

Directed by Victor Kossakovsky

82 minutes 35mm

Director, Producer, Photography, Editor


Ivan Gusakov
Victor Kossakovsky


Aleksandr Popov


Amsterdam Documentary 2002


Victor Kossakovsky provided the Amsterdam Documentary Festival’s most pleasurable and satisfying experience with his marvellous Tishe!. During the course of a year he shot the few square metres of street in St Petersburg visible from his window. Road works to repair burst pipes become surreal comedy as the street is constantly torn up and refilled. A pothole transforms into a steaming vent. Passers-by drop litter, wait with bouquets of flowers, fall over drunk in the rain and roll around in the gutters, or try to escape arrest. Life’s small, banal incidents transform into abstract poetry and provide sweet comedy. Kossakovsky’s video images are beautifully composed and edited: he’s a great storyteller. It’s an ode to taking the time to look at what is right in front of you. Viewers hoping to hear Russian will be disappointed for the film is almost dialogue-free, although full of sound. The title – which means ‘hush’ and is also an admonition to be modest – makes sense right at the film’s ending. — Sandra Reid 

"Though Kossakovsky doesn’t disdain different focal lenses, zooms and pull-backs, even the occasional red filter, most of the diversity of the image results from changes of season and time of day. Change is so incremental and pictorial, that when any real action enters the frame, it is disorientating: A police car drives up and cops abruptly spill out of the back and side doors with the speed and confused logic of a dream, as they converge on two apparent prisoners. Much of the flurried activity is evidently part of the preparation for the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg, but Kossakovsky doesn't say so…" — Ronnie Scheib, Variety 

"One of the things I don’t understand about our country is why we need such a huge amount of territory. Why does Russia have to be so big? Why do we have to go to war every ten years to get even more land, when we aren’t even capable of repairing a water main? That’s why I decided that in this film I would only use what I had at hand. Use what you have! That’s what it’s all about. If we can’t make proper use of the ten square metres outside my window, what on earth do we want Chechnya for?" — Victor Kossakovsky