Document 101 or All That is Solid Melts into Air
Animated Short (approx running time 10 minutes)
Co-production with Orange Monkey Media http://orangemonkeymedia.com/
An “independent peasant” (edinolichnik) writes a letter to the Moscow based Peasant Newspaper (Krest’ianskaia gazeta) in 1938 asking about his constitutional rights. The letter is dated 22 September 1938. In 1929 and 1930 the Soviet state launched a campaign to force the majority of the country’s population, the peasantry, into collective farms. The fact that Afanasy Fyodorovich Grebenev was living independently, rather than on a collective farm (kolkhoz), in 1938 was a spectacular feat in itself.
This film is Grebenev’s story. Having defaulted on taxes that were designed to break him he is forced to take a job at a night watchman at a local hospital. Over time, local officials come and take his farm literally piece by piece. First they take the farm equipment and the animals. Then they take his roof, his steps, his porch, and eventually half of his home.