Film Summary

This film tells the story of Russian artist Valentina Kropivnitskaya and her husband, the artist Oskar Rabin. It is a story about great talent and great love, which shows what it is like to live in a totalitarian regime, while still trying to retain one’s personal and artistic freedom. The story of people, who have created the very notion of nonconformist art, later called The Second Russian Avant-garde; who never betrayed their artistic principles and showed how powerful a weapon nonviolent resistance can be. In 1974, the couple organized a prohibited open-air art exhibition, which was smashed by the KGB using bulldozers. The following day the event was publicized worldwide. In 1977, Oscar was placed under house arrest and shortly thereafter, the family was exiled from the USSR and stripped off their citizenship. However, this historical event forced the Soviets to change their stance regarding art.

They came to France without any money and not knowing a single word of French – they nevertheless continued pursuing their artistic passion, and gradually became famous painters.

Aside from the biography of the artists, the film also addresses their unconventional thoughts about twentieth-century art. The director, Evgeny Tsymbal, one of the most internationally acclaimed contemporary Russian documentary filmmakers (BAFTA, FIPRESCI and 30 other awards), recounts this refugee success story of an artist who was true to her talent and never gave into the pressures of life.

Poster ( English | Russian )

Flyer ( English | Russian )