Gagarin’s Pioneers

Vitaly Mansky
| Russia
| 2005
| 119 min

Director Vitaly Mansky tracks down old school mates from Lvov, Ukraine, including his fellow “young pioneers” who “betrayed their fatherland” at the age of 10 and fled with their parents from the Soviet Union to Israel. Jewish families either left Ukraine, or did the same as the Manskijs, changing their names and wiping away the traces of their family history. Those who left the country vanished into a parallel universe, where they’ve been silent for more than 30 years. In this wry, personal, and moving documentary, Mansky reconnects with the school friends he once pledged allegiance to the Soviet Motherland with, exploring their dreams and disappointments, as well as their experiences of discrimination, dominance, homeland, and happiness.

Vitaly Mansky
Heino Deckert, Meike Martens
Festival Year