Scandal over Dau film: Creators accused of abusing rights of kids-actors

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

Children are stripped, electrodes are connected to their heads, they are subjected to psychological violence... All you need to know about the scandal with the Dau film
15:24, 23 April 2020


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Russian director (concurrently, the art director of the Babyn Yar Memorial) Ilya Khrzhanovsky and his creation - the Dau project – was embraced by a scandal. As it turned out, babies from Ukrainian orphanages starred in the Dau. Degeneration film.

Let's start from the very beginning. Dau is a project that consists of films and series about the life of the Lev Landau, Nobel laureate, Soviet physicist who made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics.

So it is about movies or TV shows? Neither one nor the other. Dau is a gigantic project, and 700 hours of timekeeping is only one of its components.

Here is what Meduza film critic Anton Dolin says about it: “Dau is a monumental project that includes not only footage, but also performances, concerts, and installations. Nevertheless, cinematic material here is the main thing here.”

According to him, today Dau includes 13 fully-mounted films and TV shows of various lengths, from an hour to ten.

So is this a biography movie? No. During the filming (and they lasted more than ten years), Dau moved away from the biopic genre. Dolin notes that the project should not be considered the biography of Lev Landau.

Related: NewsOne TV channel journalists beaten up during filming illegal mask trade

Movie frame

Where did the shooting take place? The very first filming took place in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But according to, Khrzhanovsky "was looking for something else, more authentic:"

“He wanted to shoot in a place, where the spirit of Soviet architecture remained, where it would not be necessary to use computer special effects when shooting on the streets... So he chose Kharkiv. It was here on Novgorodska Street, on the territory of the burnt pool at Dynamo Stadium, Khrzhanovsky began to create Institute. The place where he managed to build his amazing and shocking universe called Dau.”

To summarize this part, we should add an important point: it is difficult to answer questions regarding Dau. There are at least three reasons for this:

Laconicism of the project participants (some Ukrainian politicians are among them);

Myths of life in a large-scale scenery, called the "Institute" (the shooting on its territory took place without a script, the project participants improvised).

Numerous accusations against the creators of Dau, some of which (let us not criticize the scenes of rape, vivisection of animals) concerned the filming of infants.

And to be more precise: scenes of violence involving babies from Ukrainian orphanages.

Related: Cannes Film Festival 2020 delayed until further notice

Dau. Violence

Olena Samoilenko, an expert on children's neuropsychology, drew attention to the glaring scenes involving children.

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She writes on her Facebook that the scene with the babies is violent, because the child could not refuse to shoot or "give a signal to the operator that he can no longer participate in it."

“You can’t make children scream for a long time in the frame even with the permission of their parents, because parents may not know the nuances of pediatric neuropsychology and neurology,” Samoilenko was indignant.

She added: “The children cried, but the adults did not reassure them. This is inadequate, this could provoke depression, frustration and fear of death.”

“The project employee admitted that these were orphans, accompanied by social workers (probably workers from the orphanage). And, according to the crew, the children were not injured. On the contrary, they did an EEG as directed by a doctor. EEG is a diagnostic procedure for the detection of epileptic conditions. It turns out that the cast of the Dau project used orphans with the consent of their guardians (this is usually one director of the orphanage for everyone) to shoot in a film where the children are undressed, the fixing electrodes are connected to their heads, mental and psychological violence,” Samoilenko writes.

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She clarified that if the children were prescribed EEG, hypothetically they might suspect epilepsy, and for such children, light stimulation, stress, hysteria, increased heart rate, and respiratory rate can become a provoking factor and cause an attack.

“In Ukraine, citizens of another country can come to an orphanage and take babies to make a film... No one could protect the rights of the orphans,” the expert stated.

Samoilenko emphasized that it is worth initiating an investigation into the participation of orphans in Dau film, to understand who brought them to the site, and how were the rights of the child ensured. Finally, who received the money for this "acting?"

Related: Trailer of Mustache Fank film about Ukrainian pop music released

Contact the police

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Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children's Rights Mykola Kuleba, responded to the situation:

"According to preliminary information, children from the Children's Home were used in the shootings. Children were used in the shots. These are children for whom participation in such shootings can become a trauma for life! There are also other facts that need confirmation. The probability of these facts, as well as the one who authorized the use of children, should be investigated by the police, and I have already made the needed request," wrote Kuleba.

The Ombudsman also asked people who have any information about the situation to write him in private messages.

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