DOMA' Houses in S. Petersburg


It's not a documentary about St. Petersburg architecture. The city of St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by decision of Peter the Great, built from scratch with urban criteria completely different from other Russian cities. Western town planners and architects contributed to the drafting of its original plan. The urban nature of the city remained almost unchanged until the revolutionary events of '17, which led to a redistribution of the inhabitants in the given housing context. The large noble palaces became kommunalki, apartments with shared kitchens and bathrooms in which several families lived, one per room. The constructivist buildings designed in recent years also include common rooms and do not take into account the needs of so-called privacy. Since the 1930s, the affirmation of Stalinism and the contemporary crisis in the western world have led to the shelving of constructivist demands and the birth of an imperial, pompous style that dominates the capital and leaves unequivocal marks in St. Petersburg. The end of the cult of personality, the criticism of Stalin, the crisis of heavy industry determined, in the period of Chrushchev, the appearance of a large number of four-storey houses that respond to the now recognized need for each family to have its own home. They are the so-called chrushchevy, simple, ugly, stumpy houses, with tiny apartments. With Breshnev appear large prefabricated condominiums and around the city born spal'nye rajony, the dormitory neighborhoods. The embrace of capitalism in recent years is transforming the interiors of the wealthiest districts into copies of the houses of Amsterdam or Paris, partly depriving the houses of St. Petersburg of their particularity. Reading so far, you might think that this is a documentary on St. Petersburg architecture, but you would be wrong if you thought so. Visit the interior of St. Petersburg on the eve of the jubilee that celebrates three hundred years of the city, and that is adapting the city center to the mirage of the so-called European standards, visit the interior of St. Petersburg, the kommunalki, which still exist, the constructivist houses, which still exist, the houses of the times of Stalin, also them, the Chrushchevy, also them, the spal'nye rajony, the houses of the new rich, visit these houses to be told their story means rummaging through the archaeological layers settled over three centuries, means touching with your hands the signs that have left the historical events, means having a few more ideas to understand how it has changed and how this city is changing, not only from the architectural point of view.

Directed by Michele Mellara e Alessandro Rossi
Written by Paolo Nori, Francesca Guerra, Michele Mellara, Alessandro Rossi
Photography Michele Mellara
Sound Recordist Alessandro Rossi
Edited by Michele Mellara e Alessandro Rossi
Music by Mit'ki
Sound Editor Nicola Bagnoli
Production TdP in collaboration with Mammut film
Distribution Vitagraph Srl
Time lenght 27 minuti
Support DV CAM
Year 2003

World Sales

Videopolis Prize and Best 2004 audiovisual opera 
 "The description of the complex building and housing situation in St. Petersburg allows the authors to grasp the sense of the historical stratifications that followed in the three centuries of the city's history and in particular during the different phases of the Soviet regime. The narrative intention is rendered by a wise and poetic description of people and environments."

Best Documentary Award and Critical Award at 2003 Genova Film Festival 
The Critics' Award, decided by 5 members of the Ligurian delegation of the Sindacato Nazionale Critici Cinematografici Italiani, Massimo Marchelli, Piero Pruzzo, Umberto Rossi, Renato Venturelli and Aldo Vigaṇ, went again to DOMA' - Case a San Pietroburgo dei Bolognesi Michele Mellara e Alessandro Rossi. The prize was awarded "for the sensitivity, sharpness and wise use of the language of cinema, with which the film is able to tell the story of the becoming of history and the psycho-social transformations of the inhabitants of St. Petersburg, through the representation of the architecture and interiors of the houses of characters always well chosen and staged with sincere simplicity".

 Press Release


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