The “Amerykanka” is the headquarters and notorious torture centre of the KGB in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe. Immediately following a protest against the results of the presidential elections of 19 December, 2010, a number of opposition members were arrested, among them Alyaksandr Fyaduta. He was detained at the “Amerykanka” over a period of three months, 50 days of which he spent in solitary confinement. During that time he wrote “American Poems”, the book on which this courageous and formally unusual film by Viktar Korzun is based. It revolves around Alyaksandr Fyaduta: his arrest, interrogations, humiliations, life in prison, though he appears not in a traditional interview setting but as an active agent in front of and in animated prison scenery. The real live image of the “slightly overweight protagonist with glasses”, as Fyaduta self-deprecatingly describes himself, constantly changes into his animated alter ego and vice versa. The way this artistic device, born out of the lack of a real location, is realised reveals a strong taste for playfulness and creates a surprisingly ironic distance both to the events and the state of the country. And perhaps mockery is the only possible attitude left in the face of a government that arrests people, as recently happened, merely for clapping their hands silently and in public. Matthias Heeder, DOKLeipzig
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