Director: Jan Jaap Kuiper
26 min., 2008, rus.
17 october, Perm
16 april, Saint-Petersburg
Pyotr Alekseev (1902) was arrested in Leningrad in 1937, when Stalin's purges reached their highest point. Pyotr was a faithful communist and thought that this a mistake. He still believed so when he was sentenced to 8 years of hard labour and sent to Ivdel camp in the Ural mountains.
Pyotr's elder daughter Era (1925) remembers how her mother assured her and her younger sister Inna that their father would come back. But the only thing that that they ever saw from him was the endless amount of letters. During the World War II he died in the camp.
Era's granddaughter Katja (1977) accidentally found Pyotr's letters and was fascinated by the lot of her great grandfather, who suddenly came so close in his direct but poetic letters. Katya decided to follow his path to the Urals, to make the story of her great grandfather tangible.
Also Era after reading his letters feels the need to take a grip on the lot of her disappeared father. His death can't have been for nothing?
About the film:
Pyotr - letters from the Gulag is a graduation film of the Netherlands Film and Television Academy. The film premiered at the academy during the graduation festival in June 2008, where it won the VPRO Documentary Award.
About the director:
Jan Jaap Kuiper graduated in 2001 from contemporary history department of Groningen State University. Part of his thesis on the Russian film industry in 1990's was a documentary film about the same subject. For some time he lived in Russia, learned the Russian language and made two films there: a documentary about three upcoming rock bands in Moscow and an experimental film about a new-built district in the outskirts of St.Petersburg. In 2002 he moved to Amsterdam and graduated from the Dutch Film and Television Academy in 2008.
Website Pyotr: http://www.thankeve.nl/pjotr
The making of Pyotr: http://www.thankeve.nl