The Hermitage Dwellers
For more than a year, director Aliona van der Horst filmed and interviewed staff members of the famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. She did not film random attendants, but those that have earned the honorary title of Hermitazjnik. For more than twenty years, they have devoted their lives to this building with its art treasures.
True to the Russian narrative tradition, the Hermitazjniks talk about their lives in and dedication to the colossal palace. `I live here and sleep at home.' Van der Horst illustrated the striking stories not only with images of the daily ins and outs inside the building, but also with beautiful historical footage of big events, such as the Revolution, World War II, Stalin's regime and the oppression in the fifties. The Hermitazjniks managed to preserve the treasures from destruction. During the Soviet rule, the Hermitage was a haven of culture and civilisation - and it still is. `Thanks to the Hermitage with all its wonders, I managed to overcome the atrocities of war', the young ex-soldier Vadim formulates the power of the museum.