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Brother (15*) + ScreenTalk

Generations: Russian Cinema of Change


Bruising realism brings to life the story of a restless and naïve young man in lawless post-Soviet Russia.

This 90s cult classic is centred on the iconic figure of Danila Bagrov (Sergey Bodrov Jr.) as he leaves the army, arriving in St. Petersburg to meet his brother. Blazing Russian rock music serves as a fitting soundtrack to his descent into crime and immersion in the city’s nightlife.

An atmosphere of hostility and emptiness arose in early post-Soviet Russia, as the fallen regime was replaced by monumental chaos, crime and poverty. Gangsters and musicians ruled, and brute force became the most valuable commodity.

Brother profoundly captures this mood – it became a huge hit in Russia and resonates with each new generation. The film, and its protagonist, have become an inspiration for young people, although many feel this is for the wrong reasons, with the film being accused of inadvertently promoting neo-nationalism.

Russia 1997 Dir Aleksey Balabanov 96 min

*This film has been locally classified by the City of London Corporation

Presented in partnership with New East Cinema, a cultural collective bringing contemporary cinema from eastern Europe and beyond to the UK.

This season is part of our 2018 season The Art of Change, which explores how the arts respond to, reflect, and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

About the speakers

Birgit Beumers is Professor in Film Studies at Aberystwyth University (Wales, UK). She specialises on Russian culture, especially theatre and cinema. She is an editor of KinoKultura (online) and Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema.  

Anastasiia Fedorova is a writer, curator and cultural critic based in London. She is a regular contributor to Dazed, i-D, GARAGE, 032c, The Guardian, Wallpaper* Magazine Highsnobiety and SHOWstudio among other titles. Along with Ekow Eshun, she was co-curator of Calvert 22 Foundation’s exhibition "Post-Soviet Visions: image and identity in the new Eastern Europe".

Dasha Selyanova, born in Saint-Petersburg, is a founder of a clothing label ZDDZ London. The brand works with slogans and imagery that make political and social commentary. Dash's short films for the brand have become the main tool that communicates the message to the audience and addresses issues such a teen anxiety, iPhone addiction ext

Moderated by Olya Sova. Olya is a London-based independent film programmer and founder of the New East Cinema platform that stages public programmes and film screenings in collaboration with Barbican and HOME - as a way of rethinking the 'New East' (the expansive post-Soviet and post-socialist territory that stretches across Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Baltic, Russia and Central Asia). Olya's projects include developing film programmes and producing the cultural content for various international art institutions, including Generations: Russian Cinema of Change


Barbican Cinema 2