dir. Aleksey Fedorchenko
Described as ‘the rural Decameron’, Alexey Fedorchenko’s Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari is set among the Ugro-Finnish peoples of the autonomous El-Mari Republic in Central Russia. Suspended between magic and realism, the film consists of twenty-three short vignettes about the women of the Mari people and explores the beliefs and traditions of that group in which reality mixes playfully with cultural traditional, fairytale motifs and erotica. Shot entirely on location in a Mari village near Yekaterinburg, the film offers a collection of glimpses into the lives of these people who have somehow managed to bypass and survive seminal moments in the country’s history – whether the encroachment of Christianity and Islam or enforced Sovietisation.