Nikita Lavretski

The man Cahiers du cinéma called 'The Psychopath of Minsk' comes to DAFilms with a world premiere of a new film and six other features available for free. Discover one of the most interesting and frankly hilarious young Belarusian filmmakers working today.

Nikita Lavretski, an abrasive and indelible comedic voice from Belarus, is a zero-budget artist whose dazzling sense of invention, wild humour, and ceaseless productivity rival the energies of entire film industries. Our free-to-access retrospective features, along with six Lavretski films from 2015-19—a slate that includes his self-titled home-video opus Nikita Lavretski (2019)—the world premiere of a plaintive new 52-minute work entitled The Bear's Lair (2022).

This new work follows fast on the heels of his delirious lockdown superhero-sci-fi-horror movie A Kid's Flick (2021), an out of competition success at last year's Doclisboa International Film Festival starring Volha Kavaliova ("a star" - Cahiers du cinéma), the startling presence at the center of almost all of Lavretski's films. But his latest movie marks a clear shift in tone for the filmmaker, reflecting in mood and in texture the disastrous hollowing out of the Belarusian cultural and social scene in recent times.

In The Bear's Lair, Lavretski stages new cinematic encounters—a kind of subdued performance art—in many of the locations of his life, most of which are evidently in close proximity to one another. Watching the film, one gets the sense that it is clearly something of a closed world, a once-enriching space for love and friendship and spadefuls of moviemaking spirit that has, thanks to state repression and diminishing prospects in Belarus generally, been hollowed out of its cast of characters, a group of performers and presences familiar to followers of the Lavretskian universe. What is left in The Bear's Lair is Lavretski himself: defiant, bear-like, somewhat tragic in disposition, but nevertheless endeavoring to produce sounds, images, and ideas from the situation.

Watch free from Monday 7th February, 2022.

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