An elderly man is on his deathbed. It is the Russian filmmaker Pavel Kogan. He lives together with his wife Lyalya, also a filmmaker, in Jerusalem. Old friends from Russia, paying them a visit, are making a film about them. The atmosphere is relaxed and homely. For example, we see the sound man — also an old acquaintance of theirs — sitting pompously on-screen with his boom.
Neither Pavel nor Lyalya is really interviewed, and we learn hardly anything about the background of their life in Jerusalem or about Pavel‘s illness. We mainly see Lyalya, talking about the daily problems with her disabled husband. She elaborately combs her long hair and brings back memories of her grandmother. She goes shopping at the market and cares for her husband. The only thing Pavel wants now is to return to Saint Petersburg, his former hometown. But Lyalya is convinced that this journey would mean the death of the seriously ill Pavel. At least, every day in Jerusalem is one with her husband, she reasons.
In the course of the film, the camera repeatedly remains focussed on the moving shadows on the wall of the house, when Lyalya walks from the screen. This poetic image illustrates Pavel‘s imminent decease, because according to Lyalya medical science has no answer to his mysterious disease, and the only thing left to do for her is take care of him and support him.
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.