KREIDE AUF BETON / CHALK ON CONCRETE
Directors: Helene & Julia Vogel
Documentary | D | 2014
89 min | Dolby 5.1
49th Hof International Film Festival
As of 2004, Russian law provided for the possibility to substitute alternative civil service for mandatory military service. The fact that this alternative civil service lasts nine months longer than the one-year military service is not the only reason why, until now, only very few young men have chosen the alternative service over the military service. Men who try to avoid the army are often brutally arrested. Those who apply for alternative service are often faced with bureaucratic hurdles and confronted with societal prejudices.
This is the background of Elena’s daily work, an employee of the human rights organization Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg. Untiringly, she struggles with the authorities, demonstrates in front of draft offices and propagates the possibility of alternative service. Konstantin and Ivars have been legally fighting for years to be allowed to remain true to their pacifistic principles. Anton was in the army. Like many, he hoped to “become a man” there. After six months, however, he could no longer take his comrades’ and superiors’ abuses and deserted.