The unlikable I - engagement with the foreign element

by Vasili Vikhlaev

Research & project

Vasili's work revolves around the net of relationships that shape his position as a migrant, a foreigner. He uses the camera to reveal family dynamics, marked by exile, rigid gender roles, privilege and exclusion. The camera becomes an instrument for self-analysis and a shield to hide behind, while craving proximity.

Through play with memory and performative interventions Vasili confronts the gaps in his identity by facing the trauma of his brother, Vova, a trauma for which he is partly responsible (something Vasili doesn’t remember because forgetting is easy).

 „Teach me Salsa dancing!“ he said. Vova is a great salsa dancer, he’s even a dance instructor, specializing in Salsa Cubana. „Why not...“ said Vova. „This is gonna be so fucking weird!“, Vasili mumbles to himself, he wants the lesson to end before it even started.

 The camera is more than just a passive observer. Sometimes the protective layer of the lens is needed to face the things that make your hands sweat: the parts of yourself that drive you mad or cause you shame. The unlikable character appears on film footage. Where does he go from there?

identity, gap, auto-ethnography, migrant, belonging
Vasili Vikhlaev

Vasili Vikhlaev

Master of Film

Vasili Vikhlaev (1983 Moscow) is a Russian born, German based filmmaker with background in music, music video and documentary directing and editing. He graduated from ZeLIG School for Documentary in Bolzano, Italy and was part of the Script-Lab (Drehbuchwerkstatt) at the Munich Film Academy. In his research he uses essayistic methods, music/sound design, found footage and auto-ethnography to explore migrant subjectivity with the focus on hybrid identity, identity crises and identity construction, as well as its aesthetic / political potential.


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