A monumental volume that documents the world's most innovative—and costly—film project, a “Stalinist Truman Show.”
In 2009, Russian film director Ilya Khrzhanovksy undertook one of the most expansive, complex, and all-encompassing cinematic projects ever attempted. What began as a biopic of physicist Lev Landau metamorphosed into three years of 24/7 filming in a replica of a restricted-access Soviet research facility that covered 12,000 square meters (almost three acres)—the largest-ever European film set. Four hundred people gave up their everyday lives for three years to participate in this unscripted work—a “Stalinist Truman Show”—that became a testament to life under communism. This monumental volume documents the world's most innovative—and costly—film project.
Known collectively as DAU, this project produced 700 hours of intimate and sometimes unsettling footage, since transformed into thirteen feature films and three television series. (The first feature film, DAU. Natasha, premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival.)The book collects stills from all footage, on-set photographs shot with Soviet-era Leica cameras (curated from an incredible 1.5 million images), and results of the scientific experiments carried out in the film. Essays exploring such themes as the nature of community, power, love, altered states, and violence intersperse the visual chronological account. The final section catalogs the 80,000 items of period clothing and props as well as the characters who populate the project.