One of the most interesting documentaries of 2023 depicts the life of Russian youth outside the official ideology of the state.
"Artem and Eva" is a documentary on how a laid-back Russian provincial girl becomes a global porn star.
That's what Jevgeni Milõhh reveals in his intriguing documentary. The film was co-produced in Estonia and will be screening at PÖFF Love Film Festival Tartuff in three weeks.
Artem loves Julia and Julia loves Artem. They graduate from high school in Omsk and travel to Moscow for their studies. The young lovers get bored soon and start doing amateur porn. Their first video, shot in a rented apartment, immediately attracts hundreds of thousands of views. Soon, the two are invited to the Mecca of the porn industry, Los Angeles, where Julia will be nominated for the Pornhub award. But the dizzying success not only intoxicates, it also sows seeds of doubt and tests the young people's relationship.
"Such a frank and detailed portrait convincingly proves that sex exists in Russia, no matter what the deputies of the State Duma say," said Russian critic Anton Dolin after the film's spring premiere at Riga's Artdocfest.
The film is mainly produced in France, and co-produced in Georgia and Estonia. The film's Estonian production company is Marx Film, headed by producer Max Tuula. The same studio has also produced Askold Kurov's film "Trial. The Russian state against Oleg Sentsov" and Zosia Rodkevich's "My Friend Boris Nemtsov". Needless to say, the studio and filmmakers do not follow the official narrative of the terror state.
According to Tuula, the film was shot before full-scale war began in Ukraine, depicting thus the state of Russian society before the invasion. "Our aim was not to make a film about pornography - it's a story of love put to the test in an area surrounded by hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness. In any case, their story could give hope that this dumb society, torn by intergenerational conflicts and social contradictions, will soon collapse," he said.
The documentary program also includes Danish documentary filmmaker Lea Glob's "Apolonia, Apolonia", which won Best Film award at Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival in 2022.
Filmed over a period of 13 years, the work follows feminist artist Apolonia Sokol's self-discovery and entry into a patriarchal and commodified art world, and the painful lessons and sacrifices that come with it.
In total, the Tartuffe documentary programme (31th July - 5th August) includes six films shown in Tartu Elektriteater. All screenings are free of charge.