On the brink of war between Russia and Ukraine, a world-renowned performance artist must navigate the creative limitations of a politically charged exhibition in Moscow, capturing the tension between art and censorship.
The filmmakers capture the journey of world-renowned Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, as he presents his first major exhibition in Moscow’s Renzo Piano-designed GES-2 cultural house, located on the Kremlin’s doorstep. The exhibition features a reconstruction of the popular 1980s American TV show Santa Barbara, with a crew and cast of 100 people filming an episode each day for 100 consecutive days. Unfortunate timing, as the 100 days overlap with the buildup to the war between Russia and Ukraine. As the project progresses, the tension between Russia and the West intensifies, and the country’s democratic and creative freedoms diminish. With the outbreak of war, Kjartansson decides to cancel the project in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The film documents Kjartansson’s experiences as he navigates the challenges of artistic expression in a politically charged environment where censorship and compromise are the norm.
Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir