It's Getting Dark

The story of five families of political prisoners across Russia through time

The setting is a Russian living room. The children are playing a game, their father is cooking and the baby is lying fast asleep. The only person missing is their mother. She has just been arrested, charged with state treason and is now facing up to 20 years in prison.

The camera captures this scene and others like it in four different living rooms where fractured families try to go about their daily lives. It’s the very ordinariness of the images that makes the absence of one parent so tangible.

In the background, we hear telephone conversations that betray the feelings of powerlessness and despair. The domestic scenes are intercut with shots of the street through the window, accompanied by the reading of letters from Soviet political prisoners to their children. The domestic scenes draw attention to these ordinary citizens who simply disappear behind bars for years, offering an alternative and poignant perspective on the notion of the “political prisoner”.


Produced by Olga Kravets and Sylvie Brenet, cinematography by Nikita Pavlov, editing by Qutaiba Barhamji, original music by Robin the Fog

Festival run

Artdocfest 2016 (Moscow, Russia), Zargebdox 2017 (Zargeb, Croatia), Tempo 2017 (Stockholm, Sweden), DocuTIFF 2017 (Tirana, Albania), Cinéma Vérité 2017 (Tehran, Iran).


Best Debut Film, DocuTIFF 2017


BELIANE, 11 rue Adolphe Mille, 75019 Paris, France, +33 9 77 21 91 35 contact [at]

Download press-kit