DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Pavlensky – Man and Might

Pavlensky – Man and Might

Pavlensky vs. Putin – an unequal fight. But David takes the risk and beats Goliath on exactly the field that the Russian State is particularly tetchy about claiming as its own: in public space and under the eyes of the international community – but silently. Petr Pavlensky is an exceptional artist, a man of pain. A man who risks everything: his freedom, his family. Who consistently uses his body. The vulnerability he displays is his most important tool. When he sews his lips shut it’s a cry. When he wraps himself in barbed wire it’s a modern age crown of thorns. He protests against violence by using violence on himself. His actions are based on a strong symbolism that everyone understands but that doesn’t express anything directly. So the police and national intelligence service helplessly fall back on the old methods of the Stalinist era: prison, psychiatry, accusations of “hooliganism”.

Director Irene Langemann followed Pavlensky over a long period of time. She confidently interweaves staged scenes, reconstructions, archive and documentary material, offering Pavlensky and his artistic interventions the space they need so that it’s not the spectacular element that is brought to the fore but their complexity.

Cornelia Klauß

Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize
Original Title: Pawlenski – Der Mensch und die Macht
Country: Germany
Year: 2016
Language: Russian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 99 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour and B&W
Director: Irene Langemann
Producer: Wolfgang Bergmann
Cinematographer: Maksim Tarasyugin, Franz Koch
Editor: Lena Rem
Music: Daniel Langemann
Sound: Anna Sobova, Aleksandr Lemeshev
Script: Irene Langemann

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2018 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.