For anyone currently wondering about the condition of nonconformist youth in Russia, Marusya Syroechkovskaya’s How to Save a Dead Friend makes a fascinating watch – although the picture it presents is more than a little desolate. This documentary memoir cum love letter is moving, harrowing and, despite everything, hopeful; above all, it is fearsomely candid. The film is a valedictory for, and a portrait of, the writer-director’s partner of 16 years, Kimi Morev. Comprising video footage shot mainly by herself and Morev, with occasional archive footage and the director’s voice-over, the film presents a caustic, melancholy panorama of what it might mean to be young and rebellious in Putin’s Russia, and offers a testament to the life-saving power of love – life-saving only up to a point, that is.
Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily
How to Save a Dead Friend by Marusya Syroechkovskaya is as raw, honest and moving as its title implies. The director’s first feature-length documentary is so integrally and powerfully hers that its setting of growing up in Russia in the 2000s and 2010s becomes almost irrelevant – even though the story is, naturally, inseparable from the social context. The film world-premiered in Visions du Réel’s International Competition and won a Special Mention.
Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa