Section: What´s left?

Tolyatti Adrift

Tolyatti Adrift

Laura Sistero
ES/FR , 2021, 70 Min

Tolyatti was once considered a thriving centre of the Soviet auto industry. Indeed, this is where the production of the legendary “Lada” once began. Today, however, this city of three-quarters of a million people is but a shadow of its former self. In pimped-up old Ladas young people, otherwise caught between a futile search for work and boredom, search for the ultimate kick on the frozen Volga and clash with the police in the process.

Young adults Slava, Misha and Lera come from this Russian model city which, similar to Wolfsburg, was built from scratch in the 1960s with just one goal: the production of cars. Yet while their parents and grandparents benefitted from the golden days of full employment at AvtoVAZ, the Volga automobile plant, these three youngsters find themselves caught up in the blues of the post-industrial era. Director Laura Sistero’s Spanish-French team narrates the story of a generation which, though being well-educated gets no or, at best, only bad jobs in this city which today has the highest unemployment rate in all of Russia. By means of contrast, old Soviet commercials of Tolyatti are inserted. The film shows how young people in the “Russian Detroit” pass their time between the car jack and shopping malls, playing cat and mouse with the police and asking for advice on the best way to get a fake disability certificate in order to avoid military service. Long before the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, Putin's most recently-declared aspirations come across here as nothing more than sheer mockery. On the Volga, which is particularly wide at this point due to a reservoir, Slava, Misha, Lera and their friends slide daringly over the winter ice with their tuned old Ladas, as they celebrate life in defiance of its lack of prospects.

Series Lounge: Original Version with English Subtitles

Laura Sistero

Laura Sistero -

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