The Last Relic

Category: documentary
Director: Marianna Kaat
Country: Estonia
Year: 2023
Length: 92'
Production Status: completed


The provincial city of Yekaterinburg embodies the absurdity of modern Russian life. Fixated on its imperial past, the city holds gilded debutante balls and maintains shrines to the Romanovs, while promoting Putin as a contemporary tsar. Any shreds of political opposition that do exist are likewise vestiges of systems that either failed or never existed. Spirited 20-year-old Igor is fully committed to Left Block protests, calling out the current dictatorship and opposing slavish capitalist agendas. Old-school political activists Galina and Rafail try to bring down the Kafkaesque system from the inside by dutifully fighting for constitutional rights through the courts. Fractured along generational and dogmatic lines, neither side of the opposition can touch the controls of Putin’s machine. Shooting over four years and just before the invasion of Ukraine, award-winning director Marianna Kaat (Pit No. 8, 2010) crafts a stark portrait of dissidence in a place where freedom, regardless of its definition, cannot exist.

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