Dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Based on the soviet ballet “Spartak” (1954) by Aram Khachaturyan
“Some time ago, the entrance to my apartment building was vandalized by unknown teenagers. The graffiti they left all over the walls called for killing “khaches”, i.e. people of Caucasian origin. It also called for “CSKA”, a Moscow football club, to beat its rival “Spartak.” It is interesting that the “CSKA” was originally a military club (this is Russian abbreviation for Central Sport Club of the Army), while “Spartak” was founded by proletarian sportsmen from Red Presnya, a Moscow district with an illustrious revolutionary history. Strangely enough, myth and reality, history and the present, sport and war came together in my building. As in the past, military forces (now associated with fascism and nationalism) attacked the revolutionary proletariat. It is even more interesting that my building is located near Baumanskaya metro station, built by the famous Soviet architect Boris Yoffan. The station was supposed to be named “Spartakovskaya” in honor of Spartacus; somehow this plan didn’t work out, and the name “Spartak” was given to a square and a street nearby instead.
So I am surrounded by Spartacus. He is dissolved in my everyday life.
The film is made on the genre intersection point of documentary, silent movie and theatrical performance. I set the story of gladiators’ rebellion led by Spartacus (71-73 BC) in contemporary Moscow and simultaneously in the revolutionary past and maybe in some unpredictable future. Migrant workers from Kirghizstan feature in this film. They play both Romans and gladiators. The scene is located in former industrial space in front of Arch of Titus consructed in a scaled-down form wrapped in floor cloth.
p.s. Few month later after the film was finished two ugly events related to migration happend in Russia: 1. Moscow authorities organized “transit” camps for illegal migrants in Moscow which later were removed to a special prison in Moscow district. 2. Mass “pogroms” on migrant food market took place in Moscow neighborhood Biruljovo. The pogroms were followed by the action called “White vagon” when large groups of russian nationalists have violantly attaked migrants ( non-slavic looking people) in Moscow metro and all over the country.” – Haim Sokol
“The film is based on Lenin’s article “Before the Storm” which tells about the First Russian Revolution of 1905. So it is a very short reenactment of the previous revolution. On the other hand it is taking place in today’s Moscow and labour migrants feature in the film, so it can be also a rehearsal of the future rebellion.” – Haim Sokol