“AREN’T YOU AFRAID TO SWING ON RUSSIAN SWINGS?”
The ambiguous title for the film goes back to a question my grandfather asked me at a 1 Russian playground in 1996. While he pushes the swing with his left hand, he holds a Panasonic camcorder in his right hand, with which he captures the scene. The camera moves slowly along the severely bent metal bars of the swing, a brick-clad panel building in the background. Somewhat uncertain, I look into the camera and smile. With his words: "Swing a little, feel the joy of life!" the scene ends abruptly.
What exactly did he mean by this question and its following suggestion? Living in Germany since 1993, I haven’t seen any severely bent swings, unsuitable for children. 27 years later. What does this question mean to me as I work on this film? And since February 2022?
Based on my grandfather’s home movie archive, containing over 400 hours of video material, this film is a personal examination of family memory in times of political crisis and uncertainty. It takes place right after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and illustrates a sort of recalibration process taking place in the 1990s. A grotesque back 2and forth of political and social forces, transmuting people's daily lives, cravings, homes, and wardrobes under the sound of rhythmic techno beats, bright colors and foreign lettering. In order to pave way for democracy, communism has to be replaced by capitalism and thus consumerism?