Shot in 2007 and 2012, this observational documentary with neither voiceover comment nor interviews plunges the audience into the atmosphere of a residential facility for children with developmental disabilities, and of an asylum for mentally disabled adult people in Russia. The film is in Russian with English subtitles. The film shows the daily routines of the volunteers working in these institutions. The volunteers belong to an NGO that promotes practices of care which are only reluctantly accepted by the facilities’ administration and challenged by nurse personnel who have their own ideas about the care of the residents. The work of the volunteers and the everyday life of these two “internats” have been depicted and analyzed in the anthropological novel by Anna Klepikova, "I must be a fool." Anna, who is Head of the Department of Anthropology at European University at St. Petersburg, was conducting fieldwork in 2009-12 in the two institutions as a Ph.D. student. She joined the event via Zoom prior to the screening to share her insights. The screening was followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Ilya Utekhin. The event was free, and open to the public.
This event was co-sponsored by the Center for Documentary Research and Practice, the Russian and East European Institute, the Russian Studies Workshop, and the Department of Anthropology.