The Son

Le Fils
  • Alexander Abaturov
  • 2018
    • France
    • Russia
  • 70 min
  • Colour
  • Production
  • Petit à petit production, Siberiade, IDA Studio
  • Distribution
  • Petit

Devastated by the death of his cousin Dima, who was shot in the head in 2013 at the age of 21 during a Russian Special Forces’ mission in Dagestan, Alexander Abaturov films the deceased’s regiment. A beginning reminiscent of Frederick Wiseman’s Basic Training plunges us into training for the exam to become “red berets”. Yet, the title points in an entirely different direction. It is through the prism of Natalia and Sacha, the deceased’s parents, that we see and hear the army’s virilist and nationalist energy. By inviting Dima’s comrades into his now vacant flat, the filmmaker fleshes out an absence that daily routine has brushed aside. The crosscutting casts the shadow of death over the encouragements given to the soldiers to “fight terrorism”, a phrase which masks what is really a war of conquest. A death that seems contagious when Sacha visits his son’s tomb and learns from the gravedigger that he also lost his son. During the filming, a bronze statue in Dima’s image is taking shape – proof that the Russian army spares no expense in expressing its gratitude to the dead. But here again, the editing is on its guard: this hero-making decorum is contrasted with the reality of disability (a maimed soldier still serves in the regiment) and the risk to which these young people are knowingly exposed. When the plane comes to take them off for their mission, the jaws of the ogress-motherland close on the Dimas of tomorrow. (Charlotte Garson)

  • Monday 26 March 2018 18H50 Cinéma 1

    Original Version Subtitled in French and English + debate

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  • Tuesday 27 March 2018 16H45 Salle 300

    Original Version Subtitled in French and English + debate

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  • Wednesday 28 March 2018 19H00 Salle 100

    Original Version Subtitled in French and English

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