In the middle of the Siberian taiga, 450 miles from the nearest village, live two families: the Braguine and the Kiline. Not a single road leads here. A long trip on the Yenissei River, first by boat, then by helicopter, is the only way to reach Braguino. Self-sufficient, both families live there according to their own rules and principles. In the middle of the village: a barrier. Both families refuse to speak to each other. In the middle of the river sits an island where another community is being built: that of the children. Free, unpredictable, wild. Between the fear of the other, of wild beasts, and the joy provided by the immensity of the forest, a cruel tale unfolds, a tale in which tensions and fear give shape to the geography of an ancestral conflict.
In the heart of eastern Siberia, in a Russia straight from a Millet painting, in a far-flung forest, live two families who are almost neighbours.
They can’t stand one another. Yet they must live together, each as far as they can from the other. Their children? Little wild animals who seem primeval, don’t particularly care about their families’ quarrels, and prefer to surrender to the power of games that transcend all distance. But modernity, merciless and without regard for anyone, is knocking at the door of this troubled Eden.
A documentary that opens a veritable window into this world, Braguino’s images are troubling because of their veracity. It leaves a mark, a feeling of what “inhabiting” really means. It’s rare that a film can give us the feel of an area in this way. Expertly filmed with a profound sensitivity, the film is testament to this intimate and filial relationship that ties us to the land and renders us willing to go to great lengths to defend it. Braguino is a work about spaces, the places we live and share, and our resistance towards seeing them change. But it’s also a film about time, about retreat and remoteness. Far from the rumble of the daily grind, land finds a way to build ground in us as we build ground with it. And as time flies, it bears remembering that we often need our neighbours more than we’d like to believe.
Nadine Gomez and Khoa Lê
Born in 1983 in Colmar, Clément Cogitore lives and works between Paris and Strasbourg. After studying at the École supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (School of Decorative Art) in Strasbourg and at the Fresnoy - national studio of contemporary art, Cogitore worked in a variety of fields from film to video, via art installations and photography. His films have been selected by a number of international festivals (Cannes, Locarno, Lisbon, Montreal, etc.) and have been awarded several prizes. His work is also screened and exhibited in several museums and art centres. His first feature film Neither Heaven Nor Earth, released in 2015, won the Fondation Gan Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, was praised by critics and nominated for a César in the best first film category. In 2017, he directed Braguino, a film and photography project. And in 2019, in celebration of its 350th anniversary, the National Opera in Paris entrusted him with the staging of the entire opera-ballet Les Indes galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau.