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



Artem Vassiliev
Sergei Shumakov


Alexey German Jr
Vladimir Arkusha


Alisher Khamidhodjaev
Maxim Drozdov


Sergei Ivanov

Production designers

Sergei Kakovkin
Eldar Karhalev

Costume designer

Elena Malich


Tariel Gasan Zade


Fedor Sofronov


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


Venice 2008; Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films 2009


Best Director and Best Cinematography, Venice Film Festival 2008


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