DAU. Natasha

Natasha and Olga work in the canteen of a secret Soviet research institute. This is the beating heart of the DAU universe, everyone drops in here: the institute’s employees, scientists and foreign guests, like Luc Bigé. Natasha begins an affair with him, but not before she and Olga have a lengthy talk about love which puts them at loggerheads. In her bathtub and during jovial drinking games, Natasha ponders her lovers and describes the Frenchman as being “gentle”. But the secret service, headed by Vladimir Azhippo, intervenes. For Natasha (and us) this is an “ungentle” experience. Even those who know nothing about Ilya Khrzhanovskiy’s DAU project – a large-scale simulation of the totalitarian system under Stalin and after – will be able to recognise in the artistic and political dimensions of DAU. Natasha a radical form of cinema that moves between fiction and reality. In collaboration with co-director Jekaterina Oertel, cinematographer Jürgen Jürges and an ensemble of non-professional actors, Khrzhanovskiy peers into the abysses of the psyche and reveals (in)human extremes. A provocatively transgressive tale about the struggle for power and love; an analysis of totalitarianism.
by Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Jekaterina Oertel
with Natalia Berezhnaya, Olga Shkabarnya, Vladimir Azhippo, Alexei Blinov, Luc Bigé
Germany / Ukraine / United Kingdom / Russian Federation 2020 Russian, Ukrainian, English 145’ Colour World premiere


  • Natalia Berezhnaya (Natasha)
  • Olga Shkabarnya (Olga)
  • Vladimir Azhippo (Azhippo)
  • Alexei Blinov (Blinov)
  • Luc Bigé (Luc)


Written and Directed by Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Jekaterina Oertel
Cinematography Jürgen Jürges
Editing Brand Thumim
Sound Design Stefan Smith, Rob Walker
Sound Maksim Demydenko
Art Director Denis Shibanov
Costumes Lyubov Mingasitinova, Irina Tsvetkova, Olga Bekritskaya, Elena Bekritskaya
Make-Up Jekaterina Oertel
Casting Inna Schorr, Asya Smekalova
Assistant Directors Vera Levchenko, Inna Schorr
Producer Sergey Adonyev
Co-Producers Svetlana Dragayeva, Susanne Marian, Alexandra Timofeeva
Co-Production Phenomen Ukraine Kiew
Phenomen UK London
Phenomen Films Moskau

Produced by

Phenomen Berlin Filmproduktion

Ilya Khrzhanovskiy

Born in Moscow, USSR in 1975, the director and producer graduated from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in 1998. His debut film, 4, won a Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. He began work on DAU, a multi-disciplinary project at the intersection of cinema, art and anthropology, in 2006.


2005 4 2020 DAU. Degeneratsia (DAU. Degeneration)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020

Jekaterina Oertel

Born in St Petersburg (then Leningrad) in the USSR in 1966, she grew up in East Germany. She studied at the Film and Theatre School in Moscow and worked as a freelance make-up artist on numerous films and television productions. She has been involved in the DAU project since 2008 as a make-up and hair designer as well as a director during editing.


2020 DAU. Natasha

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020