Death of an Impostor, Enigma of the Siberian Dream (2019)
"Смерть cамозванца, загадка сибирской мечты"
"Death of an Impostor, Enigma of the Siberian Dream"
"Tod eines Betrügers, Rätsel der sibirischen Traum"
Written and directed by: Edo Muric
Executive producer: Dina Muric
Original music by: Aoi Mori
Cast: Uwe Richter
Synopsis: At the end of the Second World War, a nameless Russian soldier, captured at Saratov, is claiming to be one of the lost Romanovs. Soon he escapes from the German captivity, in an attempt to reach his home in Siberian Krasnoyarsk. Wounded, he starts his journey through freezing Russian landscape.Year: 2019,
Length: 25 min.
Country of production: Austria
Inevitability of Destiny and God's silence
In this short cinematic winter-dream, I engaged with the subject of inevitability of destiny and its relation to identity. The hero of the story, a silent nobody, who is awaiting execution, manages to escape a German prison camp during a night raid, which sets him on a sort of a hopeful journey towards freedom in Siberia. In the German records it is said that he claimed to be a lost Romanov and they are puzzled by it, not taking him seriously. Why even say such an obvious lie? Is there a significance in a sort of magical thinking that he involves himself with, dreaming about Rasputin saving him with a prayer. Dreaming of a burning match, like the one that prolonged the life of Andersen's matchstick girl, saving his own life as well, and helping him "sustain" it. God, in the form of Rasputin, tells him that it is possible. But subsequently the soldier is on his own, and the voice of God remains silent. For all purpose, his destiny seems to be sealed.
Immortality of our Masters
A Siberian dream, as a metaphor, therefore, becomes not only a slow inevitable death by freezing, but also a nightmare of perishing. The absurdity of identity construction, that is contrasted to it, becomes more emphasised as the impostor is approaching the titular death in Kaukasus, exposing his solemn humanity and insignificance. The power of the glorified Romanovs, and belief in immortality of the rich, is what inspires a poor nameless soldier in his absurd quest. Deep down, however, there lies a hope, which is true to what he really is, and has nothing to do with the delusion.
This is a film about the disparity between rich, powerful and eternal, on the one hand, and small, poor and insignificant, on the other - those who have been picking up the crumbs from the table. The disparity is not merely material, but above all symbolic and encoded by the narrative of the status quo.
Death of an Impostor was appropriately inspired by a dream, which is why its structure follows a dream logic. As such, it is a personal project in many ways. Also for the leading German actor, Uwe Richter, who is himself half-Russian, and whose embodiment of the impostor gave a special strength to the entire project.