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Vodka-national Leiste

A documentary by Alexei Khanyutin, Andrei Zorin, Boris Karadgev Running time: 60 minutes


It would be hard to name another drink that is more identified with the culture of a people than vodka with Russia. But in the West, too, this drink is spreading among young people. In conjunction with one of ARTE's evenings of programming devoted to a particular topic, Lichtfilm produced two documentaries on this magical liquid: VODKA - RUSSIA'S NO. 1 PRODUCT and VODKA, ART AND FASCHION

Kostya works as a shift-man in a roadside bistro situated halfway between Moscow and Ryazan’. Lev teaches history in a classical gymnasium in Saint Petersburg. Rostislav is a top manager in a big energy corporation, which has an office building in the center of Moscow. They have never met, and hardly know about each other’s existence. The only thing that unites the three main heroes of the film is Russian language and Russian way of life. Simply speaking – the custom of vodka drinking.

What does vodka really mean for Russians? What role has this colorless throat burning beverage played in the history of Russia? How did the events of the past decades  - the disintegration of the soviet empire, emergence of market economy, democratization of Russian society under Gorbachev and the cut down of democratic reforms under Putin - tell upon the basic national trait – vodka drinking? Such is the scope of questions brought up in the full-length documentary Vodka. National product number 1.

The film was directed by a Russian director and is notable for its rarely sincere and uncompromising attitude. Russia’s past and present, national mythology and the “mysterious Russian soul” itself were critically analyzed and reconsidered.