Monkey Ostrich and Grave


Film by Oleg Mavromatti
Russia / Bulgaria / Belorussia, Israel, USA



Will the life of the video blogger Gorin of Lugansk change after he encounters a UFO?

This is the story of the video blogger Genadi Gorin of Lugansk (the capital of the new republic, which appeared during the Russian/Ukrainian war in 2014), whose life floats parallel to the horrific reality of the unfinished war.

This is a film about the people, who live in places of endless wars – wars, forgotten by everybody: the world news, the politicians, and the human rights organizations. Many of them have no other option but to continue living together with these wars, desensitized to the destruction around them and constantly burying their own suffering in the sub-conscious. This hidden pain, one can’t get rid of, sublimates in intimate revelations to the online audience and in fantasies about revenge.  Gorin expresses this in variety of art genres – from comedy to horror, from drawings to magic. His story is thick of surprising tales and events that merge reality and dream.

Director: Oleg Mavromatti

Starring: Viktor Vin4 Lebedev

Script: Oleg Mavromatti

Cast: Anna Den, Egor Schimanko

Camera: Viktor Vin4 Lebedev

Editing: Oleg Mavromatti, Boryana Rossa

Based on the original YouTube blog by Genadi Gorin

Producers: Boryana Rossa, Andrey Silvestrov


Besides the strong anti-war message, this film is a reflection of the relatively new vlogging culture. The way the film has been shot and edited demonstrates what vlogging and social media can offer not only as a style of communication but also as an access to marginalized voices; an insight into dangerous places, including the human mind.

This film should be watched as a story that unfolds from a vlog entries playlist. Differently to “No Place for Fools” – the first film made following the post-Cinema Manifesto – “Monkey Ostrich and Grave” did not change the rhythm of vlogging; it did not transform it into a “more cinematic” one.

It is not true that contemporary digital culture and social media made people having a short attention span. If we look at all these vlog entries and how many people are watching them in full, and participating actively in the online community, we will find that a lot of people are actually really watching long, unedited speeches, real life happenings in front of the camera, visible on YouTube but mostly on websites like Online viewers are looking for real time unedited experience. This is what Mavromatti is sensing and appropriating as a mode of expression, as a new phenomenon of human communication, a new way of seeing and expression the world.

The most amazing quality of this work is that Mavromatti creates the real feeling of an online video journal, but at the same time he is able to tell a story with a beginning, culmination and an end and to develop a multi-layered character. I think this is because Mavromatti has always been looking for realism, even naturalism in his work, which is the reason he insists working with unprofessional actors and artists. At the same time, however, he has been looking for cinematic stories, for strong and complicated characters in real life. The magic happens when the naturalist fictional performance meets the vivid stories of the reality, sometimes much harder to believe than any fantasy.

Boryana Rossa


Поражает, что действие фильма происходит в Луганске, кругом творится просто какой-то Судный день — и мы погружаемся в этот ад. Потом мы выныриваем из него. Почему мы выныриваем — и как этот ад можно было снять, если Мавроматти не был в Луганске? Все это вызывает вопросы, а может быть, и дает подсказки, которые помогут разобраться в этой фантасмагории.» Виталий Манский, режиссер-документалист, президент «Артдокфеста»

«Фильм предательски, со звериной серьезностью внедряется в тебя под видом документального кино, а, уже присосавшись, горделиво «выходит из шкафа»: получайте один из самых пронзительных и беззащитных кинематографических опусов года!» Василий Степанов, Сеанс.

«Если всерьез оценивать масштаб того, что они со мной и с вами сделали, и что еще мы можем сделать друг с другом – даже не особо стараясь, то придется признать эти пара-документальные костры амбиций событием отечественного кино.» Вероника Бруни, Искусство кино

«Мавроматти в своем подрывном, издевательском, яростном, а главное — бесконечно чувственном фильме дает двойной пример режиссерского мужества. Во-первых, продолжает раздвигать границы кино, подключая дряхлый, умирающий в классическом своем виде кинематограф к трансформатору видеоблогов на YouTube. Во-вторых, проворачивает трюк, который выводит фильм на территорию совсем уж небывалого для России наших дней политического кино.»