NUSHA ALTUFIEVA: Mutants rats or a report on a squat

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April 19, 2011

director: Nusha Altufieva
language: Russian
duration: 30min

Over the last 15 years entire blocks of historical buildings and dozens of priceless monuments dating between the 17th and 20th Centuries have been destroyed.
In the centre of Moscow land is very valuable, more valuable than the architectural monuments standing on that land. That’s what the Moscow authorities have decided. That’s why any mansion, old house or historical monument getting in the way of selling the land is destroyed using any means possible. The means used by the authorities are extremely clumsy. Old buildings are evacuated, burnt down or just left to rot.
But a fire in the centre of the city is fraught with investigations, and waiting while it rots takes too long. Therefore special rats are released into evacuated buildings which will turn the structure of any solid, safe building into dust within two weeks threatening the safety of passers by. And experts hired by investors will sign false conclusions to investigations blaming the work of the rats on subsidence, exhaust fumes and the passing of time.
Our film is about a small group of young people who try with all their might to oppose the cruel destruction of their city. They live communally in one these old evacuated buildings. The group is made up of people with different educations, outlooks and ages who are united in one ideological aim – to oppose the greed of bureaucrats and an apathetic society. And though the
aim is serious their lifestyles seem carefree – love, parties, arguments, just being. But this is just a first impression, in reality they live under the continual pressure of danger, not only because they have illegally inhabited the building but also because they have started a bio-laboratory there to breed ‘warrior’ rats to use in the war against the authorities’ destructive rats.
It is possible that the heroes of our film do not fully realise the extent of what they are doing. It is simply that with their protecting of old buildings they are bringing beauty into our grey indifferent present day world.
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photos by nvard yerkanian

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