Zmitser Dzyadok on his films about people on sidelines of life

Between Heaven and Earth, English subtitles

After making friends with an ex-convict and a patient of a psychiatric hospital, director Zmitser Dzyadok shot a film about it.

The film ‘Between Heaven and Earth’ is now available on the Belsat page. Its trailer on Vimeo has been seen by almost 30 thousand people — an unexpectedly big number for the graduation work of a young director who made a film about his neighbors.

Minsk, Chkalava Street. Pyotr spent most of his life behind bars of a psychiatry clinic. He is helping Vitaly, who recently got out of prison, to settle in the attic of his small appartment and cope with the heavy memories of the Afghan war. However, not everyone is happy about this neighborhood. In winter, for example, the locals pour water over their unloved neighbors’ belongings. All this happens in front of Zmitser’s eyes.

“Once Petsya read me a poem, I was amazed and decided to shoot short videos,” recalls Zmitser Dzyadok in a conversation with Belsat. “Petsya was open, Vitalik not so much. It was a graduation work and they thought they were helping me make my film. It was a friendly act.”

In his youth, Pyotr and Vital did martial arts. But instead of a career of champions, their fate was quite different. During the isolation that lasted “almost a lifetime”, a lot has changed: the country (the USSR collapsed), people. And the characters of the film remained with their thoughts in the days of their Soviet youth.

The ability to change something for such people means to not alienate them, because changing something globally at this age and with this experience is difficult,” explains Zmitser Dzyadok. Therefore, the friendship that resulted in the film continued after the shooting, which ended in 2015. Zmitser still takes Pyotr and his mother to the dacha. He tried to restore Vital’s documents, took him to the Night House on Vaupshasava Street.

“But Vitaly didn’t like that they didn’t drink builder’s tea there. We were close friends. I didn’t give him money, though, because he bought corvalole right away. This is crazy…” says Dzyadok. “But Vitalik died. He died in my arms. I met him once in the street. He was cheerful, shaved, looking smart. He ttold me to me be at the bar at eight o’clock (we have one at the House of Culture). He was treated there by the old-timers of the district. When I came, I saw people crowding with an ambulance parked nearby. Women were in tears. I snuck through the crowd, and there was Vitalik lying. The medics were trying to restart his heart. I went in the ambulance with him. It went on for a long time. Eventually, the doctor came out. He took out his cane, scarf and watch. They buried him in the East Cemetery, at government expense. Petsya wants to put a mosaic out of the tiles there”.

Now Zmitser is preparing a film about Dzima, a recidivist thief. We asked if this was his style — filming the people who are on the sidelines of life. “I make films about open-hearted people, interesting people, about sincere people,” said the director.

You can watch the film ‘Between Heaven and Earth’ here.

Anastasiya Ilyina,