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The Molokans

original title: Molokane

2018, 76 min., color, Russian

existence Muslims+Christians post-Soviet space ritual sect tradition visual anthropology

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY : Visual anthropology / Ethnography
COUNTRIES: Russia, Azerbaijan
PRODUCTION : BUDGET : 26 000 euro


Director : Cinematographer : Sergey Karelin
Producers : Dmitry Frolov, Saglara Tyurbeeva


Director Saglara Tyurbeeva, cameraman Sergey Karelin and sound director Polina Demina immersed themselves in the creative process. The crew was met by a hospitable Azerbaijan that demonstrated an unprecedented cordiality and provided ideal conditions for laborious work.

A mystifying and haunting score composed by Moscow-based musician KP Transmission, or Karina Kazaryan subtly echoes throughout the duration of teaser.


Nestled within the hills of Transcaucasia, and entirely preserved in time, are several villages founded by Molokans – a Russian sect of Christians that rejected the practices of the Russian Orthodox church and were exiled to the mountains by Czar Nicholas I in the 1830s. Now, the Molokans of the region, that were once in thousands, have all but become extinct.

A student at Moscow State University’s history department, Dmitry Frolov decided to assemble a film crew in order to shoot the remaining Molokan population in the present-day Azerbaijani region of Kabristan. The remaining settlers now lack a succeeding generation to whom they can pass on their original traditions, and the film intends to serve as conduit for the local Molokans to relay their history for their descendants sprawled across the world.

The film discovers traces of hidden life left in Kabristan, while simultaneously unveiling a window into the present-day lives of the locals.