Utopie und Gegenwart

Root Event

werkleitz Biennale 2006 Happy Believers
Utopie und Gegenwart
9. 9. 2006

The socialist dictatorships were supported by a high degree of irrational devoutness. The ideologies that constituted the system led to a personality cult, to devote admiration of living and dead leader figures that took on quasi-religious dimensions. Moreover, the political religion of the totalitarian system was linked to promises of the future “in the enigmatic, extremely ambivalent field of actual immanence and alleged transcendence”. 1 The non-religious view of the world, to which the monopoly of interpretation was transferred, itself acquired religious traits, because the people who grew up in the system were not defined through their status as citizens, but according to what they thought and in what they believed.
The film programme, in reversing the temporal order, starts with images of the present and goes back to documentations of socialism as it actually existed and to the filmic anticipation of its failure. Malinovy Zvon tells of the increasing significance of religion in Russia and of the privileged access to truth claimed by the church institutions. Sanctus, Sanctus and The Actors of Subliminal History bear witness to the captivating perfection and the outstanding achievements of the choreographic realisation of processions, as well as of the political ceremonies of visibly structuring hierarchies. Sovetskaja elegija is a documentary film, but at the same time a very personal commentary on the end of the Soviet Union.

1 Hartmut Lehmann: Säkularisierung. Der europäische Sonderweg in Sachen Religion. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2004. p. 63.