No Place for Fools

Russia, 2015
dir.Oleg Mavromatti

Sergey Astahov is a gay man converted by Church and state propaganda into an orthodox pro-Putin activist. Composed of terrifying images from Astahov’s blog, this documentary by contemporary artist Oleg Mavromatti is the most radical insight into today’s Russia and its ideological clashes.

“We must not give away our children to foreigners and homosexuals” says Astahov. A few months prior to this pronouncement, Astahov himself was openly gay. The documentary is comprised of clips placed by Astahov on his blog. We see him praising modern Moscow shopping malls, eulogising on the pleasures of gay porn and drawing up all manner of lists – from his favourite songs to his illnesses. He considers his homosexuality one of the latter.

It gradually becomes clear, reading between the lines, that Astahov has been admitted to a psychiatric clinic to ‘cure’ him of this ‘disease’. We also see a video in which he marries a woman, subsequently morphing into a patriotic, Orthodox Christian Russian – a Putin supporter who sometimes relapses into his old self: ‘I love men.’

This  documentary pointedly highlights the insurmountable and schizophrenic ideological changes taking place in contemporary Russia

Screentalk with the director

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Calvert 22