No social, economic, political or philosophical problems can be solved until we have solved the problem of death, said the Russian librarian and philosopher Nikolai Fjodorov (1827-1903). In the documentary Morning Without Evening, Fjodorov's life and ideas are put in context with a society characterized by revolutionary currents on the one hand and the tsarist regime's brutal exercise of power on the other. The film thus provides an insight into the historical background of today's expansive and violent regime, where Nicholas I of Russia's doctrine of "orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality" is still valid.
About the film
Nikolai Fjodorov saw with concern the growing military industry in Europe and Russia. He wanted to change course and suggested that a united humanity concentrate on what he called the "common task": to develop tools that could bring the dead back to life. "Our moral duty is to create a kingdom of heaven for all those who have ever lived," he wrote.
Fjodorov's utopia of a man-made paradise on earth was rooted in the imaginary world of Russian Orthodoxy. It was also a prelude to the visions of the Soviet ideal society.
In Morning Without Evening, the historical material is rooted in images that reflect the thinking of the time: Russian Orthodox icons of the realm of the dead and resurrection, graphic illustrations of political events in 19th-century Moscow, as well as notes, drawings and models of human travel in space, made by Fjodorov and his colleagues. In addition to this material, the film consists of video footage and animated sequences, the latter being made by Raiavin studio in Tehran.
The voiceover is read by Kate Pendry, the church choir of the Arkhangel Mikhail Church in Moscow sings the Orthodox songs and the Iranian composer Milad Movahedi has written the music.
The film is supported by Billedkunstnernes vederlagsfond, Fond for Lyd og Bilde and KORO.
About the filmmaker
Beate Petersen (b. 1962) is a visual artist, educated at the Statens Kunstakademi in Oslo and the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg, Russia. She works with drawing and documentaries, as well as as a writer for various publications.
In 2012, she won the Autumn Exhibition Award for the documentary Nasseredin Shah and his 84 Wives, made in collaboration with Raiavin studio. The film was also purchased by BBC Persia.