The Institute

Sergey Maximishin

Inside a huge warehouse complex on the outskirts of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine an eccentric Russian film director is conducting one of the most daring experiments in movie making history~~On the outskirts of Kharkiv, a drab industrial city in eastern Ukraine, a vast wooden box spilling out of a three-storey brick building houses The Institute, a life-size film set that is a perfect replica of an imaginary 1950s Soviet community. ~~The Institute is the brainchild of director Ilya Khrzhanovsky, an anarchic, imperious scion of an artistic Muscovite family who has managed to convince enough investors to sustain his movie project cum human experiment since 2006. ~~This is no ordinary film set with actors who retire at night and return to their normal lives. Khrzhanosvky requires his entire cast and all staff to remain on set at all times and anyone found as much as balking at the strict regime runs the ever present risk of being fired without notice or explanation.

The daily routines in the Institute are meant to replicate the stifling, oppressive atmosphere of the final years of Stalin's reign in the early 1950s with all the shortages, ill fitting clothes, faux luxury goods, constant surveillance and impulsive snitching that defined the era.~~Anyone wishing to access the set, including Sergey Maximishin, the Panos photographer who went to photograph this dystopian dreamscape, is required to leave all modern accoutrements including mobile phones at the door and conform to a strict code of conduct. Mention of modern phenomena like the internet are strictly prohibited and carry and maximum fine of 1,000 hryvnas (approximately USD 125).~~The film, with the working title Dau, is loosely based on the life and amorous exploits of the real life Soviet physicist and Nobel prize laureate Lev Landau who worked in field of quantum mechanics in the 1950s and 60s.~~Landau had lived an unconventional life for his time, calling his marriage to his wife Kora Drobantseva a 'spousal non-agression pact'. His life and prolific scientific productivity went into decline when he crashed into an oncoming lorry in Moscow in 1962 and died of complications from the accident 6 years later. ~~Critics who have had even the narrowest insights into what Khrzhanosvsky is conjuring up in his cinematic laboratory are divided over what he is trying to achieve and the ultimate wisdom of sailing to close to the thin line between method and madness. Khrzhanovsky himself in no way detracts from the air of frantic mania surrounding the project. A prolific womaniser, he interviews potential female cast members with questions like 'Can you come up to a guy in a club and sleep with him without finding out as much as his name?' or 'Are any of your friends whores?'~~Khrzhanovsky is not alone in the tradition of director turned oppressor and guru. Francis Ford Coppola drove his cast to distraction during the 238-day shoot to make Apocalypse Now and Stanley Kubrick required Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to take 15 months out of their busy lives to get into the right mood for Eyes Wide Shut. Yet what will come of this - the longest recorded movie making project - remains a closely guarded secret.~~This story was commissioned by US edition of GQ Magazine (click here to view the full article) and republished in the Russian edition of the magazine.

 

Display

Sergey-Maximishin

Select a subject

  • Group 2 (0)
    • Stories (674)

      Ukraine

      Soviet-era inspired sculptures within the complex...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150480

      Ukraine

      Soviet-era inspired sculptures within the complex...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150481

      Ukraine

      Dressers in the wardrobe department help a man into...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150473

      Ukraine

      Dressers in the wardrobe department help a man into...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150474

      Ukraine

      Photographer Sergey Maxishin (in black) and writer...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150469

      Ukraine

      Viktoria, who plays a physicist, gets dressed for her...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150470

      Ukraine

      Dressers in the wardrobe department help a man into...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150472

      Ukraine

      A man is photographed as part of a casting session...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150475

      Ukraine

      A montage of photographs, taken for the casting...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150511

      Ukraine

      A montage of photographs, taken by the casting...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150512

      Ukraine

      A montage of photographs, taken for the casting...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150513

      Ukraine

      A montage of people photographed as part of casting...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150476

      Ukraine

      Film director Ilia Khrzhanovsky inside the complex...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150510

      Ukraine

      Soviet-era inspired sculptures within the complex...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150482

      Ukraine

      A guard in period uniform walks past a wall of...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150484

      Ukraine

      Security guards and workmen, all dressed in clothing...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150485

      Ukraine

      A waitress counts money in a cafeteria within the...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150504

      Ukraine

      Security guards and a waitress, all dressed in 1950s...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150487

      Ukraine

      A woman makes a telephone call and a waitress smokes...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150488

      Ukraine

      A woman, dressed in 1950s clothing, on the set of a...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150493

      Ukraine

      A security guard, dressed in 1950s clothing, within...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150489

      Ukraine

      Soviet-era inspired sculptures within the complex...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150479

      Ukraine

      A woman sits at a desk typing on the set of a...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150490

      Ukraine

      A security guard and a woman, dressed in 1950s...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150491

      Ukraine

      Three women, dressed in 1950s clothing, on the set of...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150492

      Ukraine

      Physicist Konstantin and director Ivan Khrzhanovsky...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150506

      Ukraine

      Physicist Konstantin and waitress Oga inside an...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150507

      Ukraine

      A woman, dressed in 1950s clothing, smokes a...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150494

      Ukraine

      A woman looks at herself in a mirror inside an...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150509

      Ukraine

      A security guard dressed in a uniform contemporary to...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150478

      Ukraine

      A waitress, dressed in 1950s clothing, working in a...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150495

      Ukraine

      Two women working within the Soviet-era inspired...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150505

      Ukraine

      A waitress, dressed in clothing of the 1950 and...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150496

      Ukraine

      A woman, dressed in the uniform of a 1950s waitress,...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150498

      Ukraine

      Two waitresses, dressed in 1950s clothing, smoke in a...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150501

      Ukraine

      Some people inside an apartment for staff working in...

      © Sergey Maximishin

      00150508

      of
      Panos Pictures  1 Honduras Street  London  EC1Y 0TH  UK |  telephone: +44 20 7253 1424 |  email: info@panos.co.uk     
      POWERED BY INFRADOX