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© Tamtam Film/Axel Schneppat

In post-Soviet Russia there is a phenomenon beyond ice fishing, matryoshkas and vodka: the garage settlement. Tin huts, inhospitable from the outside, provide a refuge for a large number of Russians – mainly men. According to their own taste and away from all rules, with ingenuity and tenacity, alternative habitats are created on just a few square meters. Scrap collector Ilya uses the garage as a production facility, Roman uses it for his quail breeding, Pavel carves skillful saint figures, and Viktor has added four underground floors to his space over the decades. Everything is here, and everything seems possible.

The garages are an expression of a retreat into the private sphere, an escape from everyday life. Behind the Arctic Circle, in a rough area where a mining company is the only employer, the garage remains the last chance for self-realization – and comes across as diverse as the dreams of its owners.

Genre Human Interest, Society, Culture
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2020
Director Natalija Yefimkina
Cinematography Axel Schneppat
Producers Andrea Schütte, Dirk Decker
Production Company Tamtam Film, in co-production with MDR, ARTE
Runtime 95 min
Format DCP, color, 1:1.85
Subtitled Versions English, German
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Berlinale 2020, CHP:DOX 2020, Durham 2020, Crossing Europe Linz 2020, DocAviv International Documentary Film Festival 2020
Awards Heiner Carow Prize Berlinale 2020
With backing from BKM, MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Creative Europe MEDIA
German Distributor MissingFILMS

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