About the film

Title: Varicella
Title in Russian: Ветрянка
Production company: Story AB, Final Cut for Real
Country of production: Norway / Denmark / Sweden / Russia
Year of Production: 2015
Duration: 22 min.
Web-site of the film:

Film crew

Scriptwriter: Victor Kossakovsky
Film director: Victor Kossakovsky
Producer: Tone Grøttjord-Glenne for Sant & Usant Anita Rehoff Larsen for Sant & Usant
Director of photography: Victor Kossakovsky, Ben Bemhard
Composer: Ivan Bessanov
Editing Victor Kossakovsky, Ainara Vera


An affectionate portrait of two young sisters studying ballet in Saint Petersburg and preparing for an important assessment.


Seven-year-old Polina and her 13-year-old sister Nastia live and breathe ballet. Both of them are studying at the Boris Eifman Dance Academy in frigid Saint Petersburg. They’re currently awaiting their grades to find out if they’ve done well enough to be promoted to the next year, with Nastia lovingly guiding her little sister through the process. But in the meantime, Nastia also has to deal with the high demands that the academy places on its students. Director Victor Kossakovsky has had a long association with IDFA, and he was the festival’s guest of honor in 2012. Here he uses only sparse dialogue, choosing to let the partly animated images speak for themselves. The gorgeously styled shots are sometimes calm, even clinical, and sometimes warm, lively and funny. But there are also moments of sadness, because anyone who wants to make her dream come true has to work hard for it, and confront her own limitations along the way. Varicella is about passion and success, and about the tender bond between two sisters who share a dream. “Dance with an open soul,” Nastia says to Polina when she starts doubting her abilities. In the end, even the roller blinds in the rehearsal room dance along with them.


About the film director Victor Kossakovsky:
Viktor Aleksandrovich Kossakovsky (born 1961 in Leningrad) began his career in motion pictures at the Leningrad studio of Documentaries as assistant cameraman, assistant director and editor in 1978. In many of his films, Kossakovsky plays the role of editor, cinematographer, writer, and director. The film Tishe! (Hush!) was made from footage that Kossakovsky filmed outside his bedroom window in St. Petersburg.[1] The film was a festival success in 2002.[1] He graduated from the Higher Courses of Film Writers and Directors in Moscow in 1988.[2] In 1993, his first feature Belovy (The Belovs) won both the VPRO Joris Ivens Award and the Audience Award.[citation needed]

Other awards include the Special Jury Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam for Pavel i Lyalya in 1999, the Documentary Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for Sreda (Wednesday), the Award of Honor at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for Sreda, the Dok Leipzig Findling Award for Pavel i Lyala,[2] the True Vision Award at the 2012 True/False Film Festival[3] and the Genziana d'Oro – Gran Premio Città di Trento at the 60th Trento Film Festival (2012).

He has begun his own film production company in St. Petersburg Kossakovsky Film Production, with the objective of creating a cinema of poetics and reality.

    Demonstration (documentary) (2013)
    Long Live the Antipodes! /¡Vivan las Antipodas! (2011)
    Svyato  (2005)
    Russia from my Window (2003)
    Hush /Tishe! (2002)
    I Loved You (2003)
    Pavel i Lyala  (1998)
    Wednesday 07.19.61  (1999)
    The Belovs  (1994)

Back to the section
Share page