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BLACK NIGHTS 2022 Competition

EXCLUSIVE: Trailer for Tallinn competition title Sashenka


- Olexandr Zhovna’s “social psychothriller” zooms in on a woman’s pathological desire to have a daughter, which pushes her to treat her son like a girl

EXCLUSIVE: Trailer for Tallinn competition title Sashenka
Sashenka by Olexandr Zhovna

In the night, someone shoots an elderly couple (Oksana Burlay-Piterova and Viktor Rybchinskiy) in their sleep with a hunting rifle, leaving their 20-year-old son (Dmitry Nizhelsky) disabled and confined to a wheelchair, an orphan. The investigation reveals the life story of what seems at first glance to be an ordinary Soviet family. While still young, the couple lost their long-desired infant daughter. Later in life, fate gives them a child, but he happens to be a boy. The mother’s pathological desire to have a daughter becomes an obsession. The woman treats Sashenka like a girl, dresses him as a girl and buys him dolls. The father supports his wife in every way.

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This is the unsettling premise of Olexandr Zhovna’s new feature, Sashenka [+see also:
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. Labelled by its creative team as “a dramatic and astonishing story of human vices and deviations”, the picture is set to premiere in the main competition of this year’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (11-27 November).

In his director’s statement, Zhovna reveals what led him to write this very disturbing picture: “I have always been attracted to a parallel world: to people with parallel intelligence, a parallel consciousness, a parallel psyche, the so-called marginal part of society. Marcus Aurelius argued that man differs from the beast by freely submitting to his fate instead of pursuing a shameful struggle, characteristic of animals. I wanted to try and find out if this is really the case. In particular, I was interested in understanding the non-standard psychic manifestations of the human being, everybody’s natural despotism. To analyse whether it was a rebellion against nature, or nature’s own amusement, an experiment on humanity. And if so, why does nature need it?”

Sashenka is a Cinemastudio (Ukraine) presentation. Its world sales have been entrusted to Israeli-based Antipode Sales.

Check out our exclusive trailer below:

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