The Return of Memory Film Season

As a part of our major exhibition Return of Memory in collaboration
with HOME, Manchester,  we are delighted to present a special film season featuring 'New East' films from Russia, Eastern Europe and former Socialist territories, aiming to create a discourse over the different legacies of the Russian Revolution – and all that followed in its wake – that are still felt today across the countries of the ‘New East’.

Sat 25 Nov 2017 at 15.20

School #3

Germany, Ukraine, 2017.
dir. Yelizaveta Smith, Georg Genoux

Speaking directly to the camera, teenagers from a school in Ukraine’s Donbass region share their innermost hopes, fears, desires and memories in this heartfelt documentary. While the war between Russia and Ukraine is never mentioned, it forms an unspoken epicentre around which individual stories coalesce. Co-directed by Ukrainian filmmaker Yelizaveta Smith and German theatre director Georg Genoux, School Number 3 was developed in parallel with a live theatre performance also created with students from the school.

The pared down monologues brim with sincerity and emotion as we listen to a generation whose lives have been directly affected by the war, but who we are not accustomed to hearing from in the global media, tell their stories. By collecting these individual, subjective narratives and providing them with a voice, Smith and Genoux challenge the abounding stereotypes – specifically of eastern Ukraine – that cling to this ongoing conflict and give us an opportunity to witness the country’s crisis anew.

School Number 3 was awarded the Grand Prix for Best Film in 2017 Berlinale’s Generation 14plus.


The New Social presents at Russian Film Week 2017

Saturday. 28 Novermber, 18:15, Barbican Centre


dir. Rezo Gigineishvili

From the creative team behind Academy Award-winning drama Ida (2013), Hostages is a moving story of youth and rebellion based on real events. 

Soviet Georgia,1983. Preparations for Nika and Ana's wedding are in full swing and it's a big day for both of their elite families.For the newly weds and their friends, however, the celebrations are in fact part of a cover-up,as they plot an audacious escape from the Soviet Union.They plan to flee their claustrophobic daily lives, discover the free world and breakout from their parents' stifling worldview. The day after the wedding, Nika and Ana decide to move forward with their riskiest plan yet: hijacking a local flight from Tbilisi to Batumi and forcing it to land in Turkey, the closest country to Georgia that isn't part of the Eastern Block. But as the plane leaves the ground and the pressure quickly rises,nothing goes as planned for these amateur would-be hijackers.


Saturday, 25 Nov 2017, 17.50

Close Reactions
(Denmark, Estonia, Great Britain)
dir. Vitaly Mansky

Leading documentary filmmaker, Russian citizen and Soviet-born Ukrainian native Vitaly Mansky crisscrosses Ukraine to explore the country’s society after the Maidan revolution as mirrored within his own large Ukrainian family. They live scattered all across the country: in Lviv, Odessa, the separatist area in Donbass, and Sevastopol on Crimea. The film is looking for reasons of the conflict after which citizens of a single country found themselves on different sides of the barricades.

The main narrative takes place in the here and now, starting with the turning point of ex-president Victor Yanukovych’s flight to Russia. But below the main narrative there is a strong historical undercurrent, because the lives of protagonists of the film are marked by history on every step they take. This undercurrent will carry information about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict’s deep roots in centuries of close ties between the two countries.

Sunday, 26 Nov 2017, 18:00

City of the Sun
Georgia, Netherlands, Qatar, USA
dir. Rati Oneli

Up to 50 percent of the world’s manganese, a vital metal across the globe, used to be mined in Chiatura, in western Georgia. Today, it resembles an apocalyptic ghost town. City of the Sun portrays a few of the remaining inhabitants. Music teacher Zurab dismantles ramshackle concrete buildings and sells the iron girders to make some money on the side. Archil still works in the mine but his real passion is the local amateur theatre group. Despite being malnourished, two young female athletes still train stoically for the next Olympic Games.

In this documentary debut, director Rati Oneli provides fascinating insights into a living environment whose bleak industrial ruins appear at once colossal and like a film set. A jumble of clapped out electric wires and aging cable cars runs through the city like the clogged-up arteries of an ailing organism that resists the flow of life in untiring fashion. City of the Sun brings home the ephemeral nature of utopias. In a city where the sun never shines, it’s only the inhabitants that generate warmth. Oneli succeeds in achieving far more than the mining companies are capable of: His camera brings that most valuable of resources to the surface – humanity.

Film Season 2018


Wednesday, 24 January, 18:30, Barbican Centre 

A Heart of Love

Poland, 2017
dirLukasz Ronduda

Inspired by the lives of Warsaw-based artists, Wojtek Bąkowski and Zuzanna Bartoszek, two emblematic figures of the contemporary art scene, this romance examines the relationship between narcissism and love. 

Wojtek and Zuzanna's love, art and lives have become inseparable. A Polish Gilbert and George, they even dress the same. Wojtek already has built a reputation as a poet and musician, while Zuzanna is on the verge of her big break. When power begins to shift, these lovers soon find themselves in competition, which poses the question: which is more important, art or love? 

Lukasz Ronduda presents his bittersweet love story in a hyper-stylised form with an electronic score that drives relentlessly on while the protagonists and their motivations are dissected.