Aleksandra Kulak, Ruslan Fedotow | Mexico, Russia 2015 | 41 Min. | OmeU
For generations, the Salamanca community of Mennonites has been living in the same modest and rigidly organized way. The inhabitants live in houses built by their forebears, and work in fields first planted by the same ancestors. All the men in this small community in Mexico wear dungarees, check shirts and Stetsons, while the women wear dark dresses and hats with ribbons. In the school classroom, boys sit on the left, girls on the right, all their hats hanging neatly, and separately, on the rear wall. Their only textbook is the Bible. The stylized shots – some silent and still as photographs, others scanning the scene – capture the daily life of a family with eight children. The sisters braid each other’s hair, schoolboys play tag on a sand-covered square, and all the children eat in silence at the lamp-lit dining table.
Black-and-white shots of modern-day scenes are accompanied by a voice-over narrating a man’s recollections of his youth. ‘As soon as I close my eyes,’ he explains, ‘I go back to the past, to the moment when I made the choice that shaped my entire life.’ Speaking in the Plautdietsch language, he talks calmly of the strong curiosity he felt as a young boy about the world beyond Salamanca and the Mennonite faith – a curiosity for which he paid dearly.