Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hermitage-niks by Aliona van der Horst

24th International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA)
March 9 to 19, 2006; Montreal
Credit: The FIFA

TVOntario prepared a present for us:

Hermitage-niks: A Passion for the Hermitage

A Film by Aliona van der Horst
HERMITAGE-NIKS--the five-part, in-depth series version of THE HERMITAGE DWELLERS-- is not necessarily about the art that resides in the world renowned museum, but about the people who work in the Hermitage.

These "Hermitage-Niks" all have their own very personal reasons for considering the palace of Catharine the Great their "home." For them, it is a safe haven that quite literally has managed to keep the tumultuous Russian 20th century history outside its walls: from the Revolution, the terror of Stalin, WWII, the harsh post-Soviet years - all these events have left their mark on the museum. What starts out as a playful kaleidoscope of people and events in the museum gradually unfolds into a poignant account of how the dwellers' pain is transformed by their intimate relationship with a piece of art.
The five episodes of the series:
Episode 3 - EMPTY FRAMES

Type: Documentary
Distributor: First Run/Icarus Films
Rating: NR
Running Time: 73 Minutes
Directed by: Aliona van der Horst

** Grand Prize, 2006 Montreal Festival of Films on Art
** Winner, Best Cultural Program, Dutch Academy Awards (2003)

Hermitage-niks: A Passion for the Hermitage
Episode 1
A Glimmer in the Eye
Art is an embellishment of life, but it can also be an indispensable counterweight for the darker side of existence. Given the catastrophes that Russia has gone through in the last century, art is no a superfluous luxury. Staff at the Hermitage do not work for money (their jobs are badly paid), but for "that other thing." Art handler Vadim, attendant Valentina and curator Juna tell us about their most beloved artworks and explain the cherished concept "Hermitage-nik."

On Air TVOntario: Thursday, December 28 at 10:01 PM

Episode 2
Guardian Angels
Alexandra (82), icon curator, has spent her entire life rescuing icons from destruction. Just as icons come alive for Alexandra, Rembrandt's Danae comes alive for other Hermitage-niks. This painting of "unworldly beauty" was severely damaged in 1985 by a lunatic. It was a most traumatic experience for the Hermitage employees, who speak of Danae as if she were a dear friend.

On Air TVOntario: Thursday, December 28 at 10:30 PM

Episode 3
Empty Frames
Olga (76) is head of museum maintenance. This unofficial czarina of the Hermitage runs her department with a firm hand and is forever marked by the Second World War when she and the Hermitage-niks saved the artworks from the mortality of war. But art was also their savior in times of hunger and cold.

On Air TVOntario: Thursday, January 04 at 10:00 PM

Episode 4
Silent Sabotage
In the 1930s, Stalin sold off the collection's best works. The Hermitage-niks hid many works that had not already been sold, such as the wonderful paintings of Monet and Matisse, burying them away in the bowels of the museum. Stalin and his cronies called works like these "capitalistic, depraved art," but the Hermitage-niks gave the censorship commission a taste of its own medicine.

On Air TVOntario: Thursday, January 04 at 10:24 PM

Episode 5
The Remains of an Era
Catherine the Great is still omnipresent in her winter palace. Her megalomaniacal, gluttonous acquisitions are in stark contrast to the Hermitage's present-day purchases. Petersburgers try to pass their last heirlooms on to the museum, while schoolchildren gape at the splendour of bygone times.

On Air TVOntario: Thursday, January 04 at 10:49 PM


An interview with Aliona van der Horst
Shohreh Jandaghian
Credit: Digital Journal Online

The Hermitage Documentary Premiered
On 16 September, 2003, in the Hermitage Theater, the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Program for the Tercentenary of St. Petersburg "Window on the Netherlands 2003" presented the premiere of the documentary "Passion for the Hermitage" ("Ermitazhniki"). This is a joint project of the State Hermitage Museum and the Hermitage Friends Society in the Netherlands, supported by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in St. Petersburg.
Credit: The State Hermitage Museum: Hermitage News

'Hermitage Dwellers' is a work of art and heart
By Michael Hardy, Globe Correspondent
September 8, 2006
Credit: The Boston Globe

Time pieces: The Hermitage Dwellers, Terry Gilliam
September 6, 2006
Credit: The Phoenix Media/Communications Group

Video: Interviews Aliona van der Horst "Voices of Bam"
238 days ago by luisoffanclubx

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