The weirdest film project ever

The weirdest film project ever

20-12-2011 | 16.06

Six years ago, the relatively obscure director Ilya Khrzhanovsky started with one of the weirdest movie experiments in the history of film: Dau. It is a movie with a crew and cast of more than 210.000 people, of which a part never leaves the set.

Khrzhanovsky obtained total artistic freedom from his distributors & investors and settled in a city in the Ukraine. Here he built a set the size of about two football fields where crew and cast are filmed by hidden camera’s 24/7, as if they were in Bentham’s panopticon.

In his quest for realism Khrzhanovsky forced leading actress Radmila Shchegoleva to work in a chocolate factory and a hospital the year prior to filming. He wanted to free her from the constraints of being an actress. He recreated a totalitarian state, situated in the ‘50s in Moscow, with rules and regulations that are focused to separate the real world from his creation.
Over the last three years, more and more rumours have come out from fired crewmembers and extras. They described Khrzhanovsky as someone who has completely lost it and has taken the concept far too seriously.
The director formed The Institute, where crewmembers that don’t abide by the rules are punished. Rules, which are formed to keep the modern world out. Various security checks strip crewmembers from mobile phone and clothing. They have to dress according to the style dominant in Moscow in the ’50, get paid in old Sovjet money, have Sovjet passports and eat Sovjet food.
Breaking a rule? Then you don’t get paid for the day. This has led to a whole new vocabulary among crew, actors and extras. Google became 'Pravda' and they’re now saying 'Pravda it'.
The oppression by The Institute has also led to snitching among the crew. Use the words 'makeup', 'scene', 'Facebook' or 'lighting' and be betrayed by your colleague. Khrzhanovsky loves this because this is where the fictitious totalitarianism shifts to reality and on-set and off-set have become indistinguishable.

According to IMDB, Dau is currently in post-production. Once we have more news about the release date we keep you informed. So keep an eye on our blog!