Cyprus Archaeological, Ethnographic & Historical Film Festival 2020 | Special Virtual Edition


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The film crew spent the darkest time of the year, the winter solstice, literally in the heart of modern Russia. They witnessed a multi-day ancient spectacle that unfolded just forty minutes away from a provincial Russian city. It consisted of numerous practices, from the Slavic ritual of Korochun – sacrificial offerings and incantation in honor of Chernobog, the god of death – to Kolyada, the ritual of nature’s rebirth.

As we spoke to the followers of Slavic Neopagan traditions (Rodnovers), we tried to understand the growing interest in pre-Christian traditions. A physics teacher, a businessman, a single mother, an archaeologist and a refugee from a former Soviet Central Asian republic – each of them had their own path to Rodnovery. But what prompts people who would never cross paths in any other circumstances to return to their roots and essentially revive their ancestors’ faith? 

To understand the mystical meaning of pre-Christian shamanistic practices and feasts. To become fluent in the everyday practices and cultural traditions of the Slavs and breathe new life into them. To reestablish the lost connection between rituals and life. And, most importantly, to find the meaning of one’s own existence, those very bonds that unite individuals into a single societal organism. There has been a lot of discussion of the importance of these bonds in Russian society recently.

Ultimately, the subjects of the film come to the realization that Neopaganism is not simply a hymn to nature in all its incarnations, but uncompromising personal responsibility for one’s fate, the importance of not letting down one’s clan – all those ancestors who passed on their skills, talents, knowledge and charisma for generations. It is also a way to overcome loneliness, break free from the routine, and lead a different kind of life that is colorful and beautiful, not unlike theater.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    50 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    Russian Federation
  • Note
    Not in competition, Special screening | available only on VOD streaming
  • Director
    Gelena Grineva
  • Screenwriter
    Gelena Grineva
  • Producer
    Alexandra Grineva