Ten-year-old Yula has but one dream - to lead a normal life. For 14 years, Hanna Polak follows Yula as she grows up in the forbidden territory of Svalka, the garbage dump located 13 miles from the Kremlin in Putin's Russia.
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Simon Lereng Wilmont
Yula is a beautiful 10-year-old girl who lives in the shadow of the abundance of Moscow-in Europe's largest junkyard called the Svalka. Situated 13 miles from the Kremlin, just on the outskirts of Putin's big showcase of a city, the Svalka is a huge mountain of trash, 17 stories high and stretching for over 2 miles. It is a fenced, walled-in area, heavily guarded by security to keep intruders out. No trespassing and no filming is allowed here, where inside the dump's walls, criminal activity is unchecked. When one enters the Svalka, he becomes a slave employed by the mafia who run the dump's illegal recycling centers. Vodka is a currency here. For most of the people who enter the Svalka, this is their last stop before death, especially when the cold Russian winter storms sweep across this mountain of waste. Although life is grim and dismal for the Svalka's inhabitants, it also brings out the best in people. They generously share their vodka and last breadcrumbs with each other and ...
The coming of age of a Russian girl growing up on a garbage dump in Moscow.
Sometimes a documentary cannot only make you see what somebody's life is like, but to a certain extent also can make you feel it. Hanna Polak did a great job doing that, portraying the life of Yula, a Russian girl growing up on the biggest garbage dump of Moscow.
The film follows the life of Yula, who growing up has the hopes of a better life, even though the odds look slim. During fourteen years we see her cope with the ordinary struggles of a girl coming into adulthood, albeit her environment is totally different and unreal.
I found the documentary moving because of the directness of it. No special tricks were used to put emphasis on the situation, and the lack of it made it all the more impressive. You really get to know the people surrounding Yula, and it shows how miserable living conditions can affect them.
Strong documentary, really worth watching
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