DocHouse Picks: Vitaly Mansky

Thursday 19 January, 2017

Veteran director Vitaly Mansky’s latest film, CLOSE RELATIONS (RODNYE) opens at the DocHouse on Friday 20th January. The deeply personal film explores post-revolution Ukraine through the stories of Mansky's own relatives, now scattered on both sides of a highly charged and dizzyingly complex political situation.

We are delighted that Vitaly Mansky will be joining us for a Skype Q&A on Monday 23rd January at 6.15pm. Book tickets: HERE

In a career spanning almost three decades, the prolific Russian filmmaker has made over 30 films which have been presented at more than 500 international film festivals, including Cannes, Karlovy Vary, Berlin, Amsterdam, Toronto and many more. From his vast filmography we've picked out five essential Mansky titles to see alongside CLOSE RELATIONS. 

RED TSARS. PRESIDENTS OF RUSSIA (2001)

The political twists and turns of the vast Russian landscape are depicted in the extensive trilogy. Mansky followed Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin over the course of a year. The result is both an insider’s account of politics in Russia and an intimate portrait of the three ‘Red Tsars’.

Episode 1: Gorbachev. After Empire  

Episode 2: Yeltsin. Another Life

Episode 3: Putin. Leap Year

GAGARIN'S PIONEERS (2005)

Mansky tracks down his old schoolmates from Lvov, Ukraine, with whom he once pledged allegiance to the Soviet Motherland.  Some fled the Soviet Union to Israel, others - like the Manskijs - changed their names, wiped away the traces of their Jewish family history and stayed.  Mansky travels to Israel, USA, Canada and Ukraine in search of those he once knew so well, to explore their mutual past and to discuss dreams and disappointments, discrimination and dominance, homeland and happiness.

Watch the trailer HERE. 

MOTHERLAND OR DEATH (2011)

Fifty years after the revolution, what is life like in Cuba? Motherland or Death (which, for more than 50 years, has been Cuba’s motto), centres on the generation born before the revolution, who are now reaching the end of their lives, as they begin to further understand that they no longer have to live their lives by that decades-old revolutionary mantra. An epoch gradually vanishes, as new generations continue to shift the country’s reality, which hasn’t quite caught up with “outsider” perceptions others have of Cuba.

Watch the trailer HERE.

PIPELINE (2013)

A different sort of road movie, Pipeline sees Mansky travel the course of Russia’s Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhhorod pipeline, which transports gas from Western Siberia to Western Europe. Shooting in seven countries over 104 days, Mansky meanders from east to west painting a fascinating and entertaining portrait of modern life. Not everybody benefits from Russia's gas wealth and the daily struggle is palpable.  Mansky, though, ignores the geopolitical issues running beneath the surface, instead creating space for personal stories. 

Watch the trailer HERE.

Under The Sun (2015)

After years of negotiation Mansky was invited by the North Korean government to make a film about one girl and her family in the year she prepares to join the Children's Union, on the 'Day of the Shining Star' (Kim Jong-Il's birthday). "My father says that Korea is the most beautiful country..." says eight-year-old Zin-mi. And so it might seem as Mansky films her in joyous, patriotic school pageants and in dance class, or with her parents, eating delicious food in their picturesque apartment. But the government handlers supervising the production did not realise that Mansky kept filming even after they had shouted "Cut." Under The Sun is the jaw-dropping result. 

Watch the trailer HERE.