In Search of the Russian Soul


Kirche in Sergijew Possad

The Golden Ring and Kiew

Documentary Series, HD  2x (5) 43/52 Min

In Cooperation with ZDF/ARTE

Written and Directed by Klaus Kastenholz and Markus Reher
Produced by Moers Media

Still preserved in the kremlins, the city palaces, and the old urban centers up to the present day is the cultural heritage of the easternmost part of Europe: the diverse architectural survivals of the Kievan Rus’, built by its glorious grand princes, who barricaded their settlements against the Tatars, that wild enemy from the Easter steppes, and celebrated the most pompous opulence protected behind heavy walls; the basilicas of the metropolitans (archbishops), whose residences embodied concentrations of political power comparable to that of the popes of the early Middle Ages; the daring construction projects of the Tsars, modeled on and competing with achievement such as the Versailles of the Sun King.

In many cases, these beauties remained hidden for decades behind enormous prefab buildings and Stalinist architectural vulgarity. But they remained nonetheless, and were faithfully venerated by old and young alike, who perceived in them the soul and heart of the Old Russia which was the source of a sense of pride that survived decades of communism and the repression of the Russia’s cultural heritage. The series explores these yearnings for a glorious past and tell stories which shed light on this spectacular aggregation of singular townscapes, which reflect the high-spirited feel for life which has characterized this region – set on Europe’s eastern edge – for so many centuries.

With their sumptuous colors and shapes, these intricate aerial images lead from one enthralling tale to the another, each one representative of a singular location. These are images which transport a past age into the present, bringing viewers closer to Russia – whether via unprecedented bird’s eye views or stories of typically Russian personalities.