Young guys in Belarus look ahead to their term of military service with a sense of dread. They know what’s awaiting them in the army: they will be harassed, bullied and beaten by the older soldiers. Motherland shows how this culture of brutality is used to control an entire population, and how it robs the younger generation of any prospects for the future.
Svetlana’s son will never be able to tell her about his experiences as a conscript. Suicide was the official cause of death, but the wounds on his body tell a different story. To uncover the truth, Svetlana joins forces with other mothers of young conscripts who died during military service.
Nikita and his friends try to escape this oppressive reality at clandestine raves. But the party could be over at any time. Just as Nikita is drafted, demonstrations against the rigged re-election of Alexander Lukashenko break out, and he’s deployed to help crush the protests. Suddenly, he has become part of a repressive system whose only goal is to violently quash any hope for change.
After the film, we are joined on stage by the filmmakers Hanna Badziaka and Alexander Mihalkovich for an in-depth discussion about the current political situation in Belarus, its implications on the geopolitical landscape and the influence it has on the lives of young and creative people of Belarus.
About the speakers
Hanna Badziaka comes from Minsk, Belarus. In 2009, she graduated in Philology from the Belarusian State University. As a video journalist she worked for independent online media and for the only independent TV channel in Belarus. Upon acquiring vast experience in creating detailed video reports, she participated in creating several documentaries.
Alexander Mihalkovich is a Belarusian-Ukrainian director and producer. His focus as a filmmaker is on long-term projects with which he has a close personal relationship. After creating several short documentaries and experimental films, he made his debut feature film, My Granny from Mars. The movie had a successful theatrical release in Ukraine, has been selected for numerous international film festivals, and performed as the opening film at the Eastern Neighbours FF in The Hague in 2019.
Altijd als eerste op de hoogte van onze programmering, De Balie podcasts, Tv fragmenten en de nodige verdieping.