illustration of a man looking left. In the background is transportation for carrying lumber on a river.

Film: The Wood Floaters with film director Kirill Makarenkov

Platagony ("rafters") are men employed in the transport of lumber from the outermost forests of Russia to the processing plants nearer to populated areas. The platagony fell trees, bind them together, and ride them hundreds of miles down treacherous rivers. The still expanding railway and road system is diminishing this kind of labor, but hidden communities of platagony remain in Russia's vast inaccessible forests. Kirill Makarenkov's The Wood Floaters is a quiet and intimate portrait of these workers and their daily existence. Between sweeping desolate landscape and bawdy accordion music, this stunning documentary portrays a Russia an infinite distance from the glass and opulence of Moscow, and simultaneously intimately connected to it. The men and women of these communities labor to protect a kind of being in the world that both feeds capitalism in Russia and will inevitably be destroyed by it.

Makarenkov has made five feature length films in his 10-year career, three of which are documentaries. Platagony was selected for Documenta Madrid film festival, Film Trazyt (Posnan, Poland) and ARTDOCFEST (Moscow). It also won the Laurel Branch for Best Cinematography in the National (Russian) Prime. It has never been screened in the US. Makarenkov has been a lecturer at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography.

This event is hosted by the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center.

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For further information, visit Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (external link) or (217) 333-1244.

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at (217) 244-5586 or (email link).