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IDFA - Wednesday 19.07.1961 + Doc Talk

At the heart of this film lies the notion that life is a lottery. For an entire year, Victor Kossakovsky searched for inhabitants of St. Petersburg who were born on Wednesday, July 19, 1961, his own birthday, in former Leningrad. He found that this particular day saw the birth of 51 women and 50 men. Some of them were no longer living, while others had moved to another city or abroad. But in 1995, Kossakovsky managed to capture 74 remaining residents on film, in the streets, at work, behind the wheel of their cars or in cramped apartments.


He meets doctors and patients, entertainers and businessmen, construction workers and homeless people. He films some merely in passing but spends considerable time with others. A couple in recovery that”s about to have a baby constitutes a form of leitmotif. In his own unorthodox style, Kossakovsky has produced a beautiful portrait of a random group of thirtysomethings in St. Petersburg in the first decade after the collapse of Communism.

doc talk

As part of the focus program Me, film journalist Nicolas Rapold (Film Comment) talks to Victor Kossakovsky after the screening of Wednesday, 19.07.1961.