New East Cinema: No Place For Fools (Oleg Mavromatti, 2015)

We are delighted to announce the next film as part of New East Cinema, our programme of contemporary cinema from the new east curated by The New Social.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Oleg Mavromatti who will be joining us via Skype.

No Place For Fools

Russia, 2015, dir. Oleg Mavromatti

Sergey Astahov is a gay man converted by church and state propaganda into an orthodox pro-Putin activist. Composed of terrifying images from Astahov’s blog, this documentary by contemporary artist Oleg Mavromatti is the most radical insight into today’s Russia and its ideological clashes.

“We must not give away our children to foreigners and homosexuals”, says Astakhov. A few months prior to this pronouncement, Astakhov himself was openly gay. The documentary is composed of clips placed by Astakhov on his blog, praising modern Moscow shopping malls, eulogising the pleasures of gay porn, and drawing up all manner of lists – from his favourite songs to his illnesses. He considers his homosexuality one of the latter.

It gradually becomes clear, reading between the lines, that Astakhov has been admitted to a psychiatric clinic to “cure” him of this “disease”. We also see a video in which he marries a woman, subsequently morphing into a patriotic Orthodox Christian Russian, a Putin supporter who sometimes relapses into his old self: “I love men”.

No Place For Fools is documentary that pointedly highlights the insurmountable and schizophrenic ideological changes taking place in contemporary Russia.

About New East Cinema

New East Cinema is a bi-monthly film series curated by The New Social, presented by Calvert 22 in collaboration with the Barbican Centre, which looks across eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia to uncover the most thought-provoking, daring and vibrant cinema coming from today’s “New East”.

The series goes in search of filmmakers who are not only redefining the cinematic language of their respective countries, but are asking what this “post-Soviet” or “post-socialist” landscape may look like and what legacy it bears. Whether surreal, outright fantastical, outlandish or sobering, these films share a hunger for personal and authentic storytelling and ways of seeing.