The War of Raya Sinitsina
original title: Milchamta shel Raya Sinitsina
2020, 89 min., color and b/w, Russian-Hebrew
COUNTRIES: Russia, Israel
Cinematographer : Efim Graboy and Daniel Binsted
Producers : Yahaly Gat and Efim Graboy
FESTIVALS: Film Festival Cottbus (Specials) 2021, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2021, DOKer Moscow International Documentary Film Festival 2021, DocAviv 2020 Director’s Statement: What brings a young man to dedicate four years of his life, making a film about a 94 years old woman or a war that he was always keeping a distance from? The universe mystically brought me to Raya Sinitsina – rational or emotional explanation of our connection simply
cannot show all the layers of it, as our vibrations were on a different level of existence. I would dare to say that it is a karmic connection, and at the climax of our mutual journey I was lucky to get answers for the question I was asking in the beginning of this text.
Together we touched a war trauma of Raya, in the deepest level of her soul. By making her feel a young woman, soldier, again, me and Raya were able to create a therapeutic space. I was there with her, but not as a director or a friend, rather as a soldier she met during a war. Then I realized that the film is beyond this particular life. For me this film is
a prayer of a soul that intends to get free from the curse of war. The camera was just an excuse. When I just began this journey, I planned to portray World War II from a perspective of our time, a milestone in history – when an army of senior soldiers, witnesses – are almost gone, but instead I found love and peace. So this film is a farewell letter for those who participated in that war.
A young filmmaker meets and follows Raya, a 94-year-old Soviet war heroine who fought in the Siege of Leningrad. As Head of the World War II Disabled Veterans Club in her city, she introduces him to a vanishing generation in Israel. Her own fighting spirit and willpower are still fierce. As Raya faces the loss of her last comrades and her health deteriorates, the two become involved in a spiritual process that awakens the young woman within her; Through her eyes and dreams, they create their own reality in which time and age lose all meaning. Their growing closeness transforms a film about war and loss into a mystical story of love and friendship.