At 33, Russian filmmaker Marusya Syroechkovskaya has known practically only Vladimir Putin as head of the Kremlin. When he became head of government in 1999, she was only 10 years old. “I understand that I’ve lived most of my life under Putin,” she marvels when we meet her in Cannes. His documentary How to Save a Dead Friend has just been presented at Acid, a parallel selection which contains its share of nuggets. This year, there is the crazy fiction Grand Paris express by Martin Jauvat and especially this dive with a drifting youth against a background of cold wave played by the Russians of Morenist or the English of Joy Division.

How to Save a Dead Friend has the hard-hitting charm of exceptional documentaries: it is both a posthumous tribute by the director to her ex-lover who belongs to a drug-ridden youth and a violent criticism of Putin’s Russia . A rant with punk accents that lists twelve years of images, much more trash than Leto, Kirill Serebrennikov’s rock delirium, presented in official competition at Cannes in 2018.

Everyone knows that Russia is a country of depressives.Marusya Syroechkovskaya

The film opens with a shot of dreary buildings on the outskirts of Moscow and continues with a funeral scene. That of Kimi, the former boyfriend of the director, who died in 2016 of an overdose. Marusya Syroechkovskaya sets the tone and slips in this pithy comment: “There are some who say that Russia is for the Russians. What is this bullshit? Everyone knows that Russia is a country of depression. To overcome their demons, the young friends that Marusya Syroechkovskaya has been filming since she was 16 take up all kinds of drugs. She herself cams, before the overdoses which multiply in her entourage do not push her to get out of it.

Russia has become a totalitarian state.Marusya Syroechkovskaya

She cites the example of the Internet. “The freedom to express oneself freely there was much greater in the 2000s. Today, the authorities control the publications. You have to be very careful with what you write on social networks. Some people have been imprisoned just for reposting a post on Facebook or ‘liking’ a post [clicked the ‘like’ button, editor’s note]. »

Our arrest was only a matter of days away. It was necessary to leave in order to be able to speak freely.Marusya Syroechkovskaya

The director thanks the Cannes Film Festival for giving her the opportunity to express herself by showing her work. She will not return to Russia when the cultural event ends. “I don’t know where I’m going to live. Maybe I’ll never see my parents or my grandparents again. I prefer not to think about it too much. Chilling.

How to Save a Dead Friend, in competition in the parallel selection of Acid, in Cannes. Coming soon.