VIFF 2019: One Man Dies a Million Times


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      An American docmaker with a background in natural sciences, Jessica Oreck shot her first narrative feature in St. Petersburg, Russia, with local actors (and nonprofessionals). She uses the same locations where, during the prolonged Nazi attack on what was then Leningrad, botanists worked as hard as the more famous art guardians of the Hermitage Museum to save and store the wealth of genetic material found in Russia’s seed bank.

      Set in the near future and shot in high-contrast, Tarkovsky-like black-and-white, the undated events here are based on letters and journals of people, including poet Anna Akhmatova, who survived that siege.