The Russian-Austrian co-production recently won the EAST OF THE WEST
Award at the 40th Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, "For innovative
creation of a human universe which reinstates Chekhov in contemporary
society" (www.kviff.com). The film is shot in St. Petersburg, Moscow and
Vienna. The German synchronisation was made in ZAP studios in Vienna,
directed by Detlev Eckstein and Dieter Witting. The project was produced
with the support of the cities of Vienna and Moscow.
The film is
based on motifs drawn from Chekhov’s story “Ward 6,” with a plot
situated in a provincial town at the beginning of the 20th century. A
loner named Andrei Ragin is head doctor at the local hospital.
Ragin kills time reading specialized literature. He is fascinated by a
paper on the treatment of psychosis by a Viennese psychiatrist, and he
imagines the session described therein. His attempt to apply the
practice fails because of the incompetence of the staff. He consoles
himself for the failure in debates with a teacher who is avoiding forced
labour by living among psychopaths. The man’s aggressive philosophy and
growing distrust of his colleagues spark Ragin’s imagination, and
morbid visions foretell the breakdown of his personality.... In harmony
with Chekhov, the director highlights the pernicious nature of the
traditional ailment of the Russian intelligentsia, one susceptible to
exchanging activity for idle chitchat and to replacing the lack of their
own thoughts with the citations of others’.