Paper Soldier (image 1)

I made an essay about my impressions of that time, the time when my parents were young.

Alexey German Jr

Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Paper Soldier 2008

Bumazhny soldat

Directed by Alexey German Jr

This superbly photographed chronicle of Russia’s 60s space programme is the anti–Right Stuff. A physician grows increasingly uncomfortable risking human life for the sake of science.

Russia In Georgian and Russian with English subtitles
118 minutes 35mm / CinemaScope

Director

Producers

Artem Vassiliev
,
Sergei Shumakov

Screenplay

Alexey German Jr
,
Vladimir Arkusha

Photography

Alisher Khamidhodjaev
,
Maxim Drozdov

Editor

Sergei Ivanov

Production designers

Sergei Kakovkin
,
Eldar Karhalev

Costume designer

Elena Malich

Sound

Tariel Gasan Zade

Music

Fedor Sofronov

With

Merab Ninidze (Daniel Pokrovsky)
,
Chulpan Khamatova (Nina)
,
Anastasya Sheveleva (Vera)

Festivals

Venice 2008; Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films 2009

Awards

Best Director and Best Cinematography, Venice Film Festival 2008

Elsewhere

Alexey German Jr's chronicle of Russia's 60s space programme is the anti-Right Stuff. The cosmonauts who are shaping up to make history are hunkered down in bleakest Kazakhstan. The contraptions they train on might have been designed by da Vinci. They are the paper soldiers of the title, playthings of the state, preparing to venture where only dogs have gone before. Daniel (broodingly handsome Merab Ninidze) is the physician who monitors their health. Shuttling between the wintry base and his circle of intellectuals and artists in Moscow, he is increasingly disturbed by what he's seeing. Though regarding the optimistic spirit of Soviet liberalism with distance and irony, German taps into the invigorating modern aesthetic of the era's cinema. His constantly tracking camera maps out the existential limbo of the Cosmodrome and follows its nervy, discombobulated denizens with a grace to mesmerise any true lover of giant screen poetics. — BG