The Woman With Five Elephants

Year of participation 2010
Program Documentary Competition

The Woman With Five Elephants
Producer(s) Vadim Jendreyko, Hercli Bundi, Thomas Tielsch, Inge Classen, Marion Bornschier, Urs Augstburger
Director(s) Vadim Jendreyko
Script Vadim Jendreyko
Director of Photography Niels Bolbrinker, Stéphane Kuthy
Production designer Niels Bolbrinker, Stéphane Kuthy
Music by Daniel Almada, Martín Iannaccone
Sound Patrick Becker, Florian Beck
Edit Gisela Castronari
Cast Svetlana Geier, Anna Götte, Hannelore Hagen, Jürgen Klodt, Johannes Geier, Sofiya Mikhaylova, Fyodor Mikhaylov
Production company(-ies) Mira Film GmbH Badenerstrasse 129 CH-8004 Zürich Tel.: (41- 43 - 960 36 81, 41- 43 - 960 36 84) Fax: (41- 43 - 960 36 94) Email: Filmtank GmbH Friedrichstrasse 23a 70174 Stuttgart Tel.: (49 711 305 82 34) Email:


Documentary portrait of 86-year-old Svetlana Geier, who has dedicated her life to translating Russian literature into German. In the last twenty years she has concentrated on the five great novels, “The Five Elephants” of Dostoevsky. The film juxtaposes Geier's meticulous intellectual effort – which she carries out with several retired friends – with her everyday activities in and around the house: peeling apples, making tea and receiving her children and grandchildren. When she is invited to be a guest lecturer in Kiev, she returns to her natal homeland for the first time in 56 years.


DEFA Sponsoring Prize "for an outstanding German documentary film" (DOK Leipzig, 2009); SRG SSR idée Suisse Prize, Prize of Suissimage and of the Society of Swiss Writers SSA for the most innovative Swiss film; special mention from the Interreligious Jury (Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland, 2009); Audience Award for the Best Documentary Film (Bozner Filmtage, 2010); Best Documentary (Quartz 2010 - Swiss Film Award, 2010); SRG SSR idée Suisse Prize "For the Best Educational, Societal or Science Television Programme for a Large Audience" (BaKaForum, Switzerland 2010); Alpe Adria Cinema Award to the Best Documentary Film, Audience Award for the Best Documentary Film (Trieste FF, 2010)

 Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation
Festival Coverage