Seven days in the life of Father Christmas

By Gulya Mirzoeva

                                                              ©.Mille et Une. Films / ARTE France


Director Gulya Mirzoeva  • Image Sergey Zezyulkov • Sound recording Abdiroïm Tcharyev • Editing Gisèle Rapp-Meichler • Sound mixing Nicolas Naegelen


Igor and Luba are actors at the Saratov theatre. At the end of every year they  make money by going from house to house dressed up as Father Christmas and the Little Girl of the Snows. In keeping with tradition, once the presents have been handed out to the children, they spend a little time with the family.

Igor, Luba live in a tiny apartment very close to the Saratov Theatre of Dramatic Art. They have been acting for fifteen years. They are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. Their daughter Rita, fourteen years old, is growing up and suffers from the lack of comfort. For the last few years, for the New Year Celebrations, Igor and Luba bring in some extra money by dressing up and going from house to house as Father Christmas and the Little Girl of the Snows. Igor, either alone or accompanied by Luba, goes off on a round of visits. However he does not only visit households that can « afford » a visit from Father Christmas. He also visits friends, neighbours…

Once the presents have been given out to the children another part of the Russian ritual begins:  Father Christmas is invited to have one or many glasses of vodka. The visits continue: a sickly neighbour, a rich and lonely mother of a three year old girl, a family of former apparatchiks who live in nostalgia for the old Soviet Union, an old friend back from Chechnya, a family of gipsy musicians and dancers…

The film also looks at the everyday life of this couple  who are questioning their future. The unexpected announcement of Luba’s pregnancy provokes the fury of their fourteen year old daughter and unsettles Igor.
Between the visits and the more personal moments, the film paints a sensitive portrait of a family and of a Russian society which is losing its bearings.   


Coproduction .Mille et Une. Films / ARTE France.

With CNC / Procirep-Angoa / YLE, DR-TV and RTBF.


Étoile de la Scam 2007 • Grand Prix Festival Escales documentaires de La Rochelle 2007 • Traces de Vies 2006 • Douarnenez 2007• Festival International 1001 documentaires Istambul 2007.


Available in DVD