Moya Babusya Fani Kaplan

Ukraine 2017

Synopsis

1917, the Crimea. A blind woman Fanny Kaplan (Katerina Molchanova) is pardoned after serving ten years for terrorism at a hard labour camp and goes to a rest home in Yevpatoria. There, Fanny meets a doctor Dmitriy Ilyich Ulyanov (Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy). He is incidentally the brother of Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin). Fanny’s relationship with Dmitriy Ilyich develops into a love a affair - soon he abandons his wife and starts living with Fanny. To his discontent, Fanny has to leave him for several weeks and go to Kharkov, where she undergoes a successful surgery to restore her eyesight. On her way back to the Crimea, she meets her first love, a former bandit and anarchist Viktor Garskiy (Ivan Brovin), the man, whose blame she took for a failed terrorist plot a decade earlier. After spending the night together, Garskiy informs Fanny that he is a Bolshevik revolutionary with no time to spare for personal life and then promptly leaves. After a prolonged desperate search in Moscow, Fanny finally finds Garskiy. It turns out that he is now a member of the secret police, is married and has a son. However, Fanny agrees to become his mistress. On 30th August 1918, Fanny comes to the Mikhelson factory for a date with Garskiy. And at that time and place the assassination attempt on Vladimir Lenin takes place. Was Fanny the one who shot Lenin?

Directors Statement

This film is a study of one historical falsification. It focuses on how history can be manufactured in ideological interests. Today, we still live among myths from the Soviet era. Many of them were debunked, but others survive. They live in old films and in people’s minds. Our film is an attempt to create an alternative discourse, a reassessment, based on one separate story.
Fanny Kaplan was the main villain of the Soviet mythology, who threatened the holiest of holies – the life of Vladimir Lenin. However, the documents from Kaplan’s trial, declassified after the collapse of the Soviet Union, give an impression of a falsified case, like the ones that would abound in Stalin’s times and which can still be seen today... So we wished to question her guilt and show Kaplan as a human being rather than the “enemy of the people”.
In her short life (just 28 years) Kaplan had lived through three revolutions and two wars. I believe that a story of a person, who found herself living in a whirlpool of drastic social transformations of her era, is frighteningly resonant with the situation we witness in the early 21st century, with its wars, hybrid conicts, “peacemaking missions” and insurrections...
Kaplan went blind due to physical and psychological traumas. The themes of blindness and regaining sight are important for the film. First of all, in the context of how people can “go blind” to the rise of totalitarianism – either through blind idealism or unquestioning conformism. Secondly, how people can be made blind towards history. The Orwellian phrase on how “the one who controls the present controls the past” still remains real and relevant.

Biography

Olena studied film directing at the Kiev Film Institute. After graduation she quickly garnered international attention with her work – in particular, her film “Cruel Fantasy” (1997) received the Golden Crown award at the Casablanca IFF, while her next film “Two Julias” (1998) was shown at numerous film festivals. Between 2001 and 2012 she worked in Moscow, where she directed a number of mini-series for the Russian largest television channel “Perviy kanal”. All of them featured prominent Russian actors. In 2012, Olena returned to Ukraine during the recovery of its national film industry. There, she co-founded Gagarin Media Film Company and became its CEO.
In 2013, she co-produced a romantic comedy “F63.9 Love Sickness”. She also co-wrote and co-directed this film with her husband, Dmitriy Tomashpolsky.
A black comedy "Laugh or die" was produced by Olena in 2016.

Selected filmography (as director):

2016 MY GRANDMOTHER FANNY KAPLAN
2013 F 63.9 LOVE SICKNESS
2008 MAYAKOVSKY. TWO DAYS
2006 KAZAROSA (MINI-SERIES)
2002 TOMORROW WILL BE TOMORROW
1998 TWO JULIAS ACTORS
1997 CRUEL FANTASY
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Olena Demyanenko

Written by : Dmytro Tomashpolskiy, Olena Demyanenko

Produced by : Olena Demyanenko

Director of Photography : Oleksiy Moskalenko

Editor : Igor Rak

Production Design : Oleksandr Batenev, Sergey Brzhestovskiy

Costume Design : Nadiya Kudryavzeva

Hair & Make up Artist : Vitaliy Skopelidis

Composer : Tymur Polyanskyi

Sound Design : Artem Mostovoy

Main Cast : Katerina Molchanova (Fanny Kaplan), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy (Dmitriy Ilyich Ulyanov), Ivan Brovin (Viktor Garskiy)

Animation : Oleksiy Moskalenko

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Feature Film Selection 2017