|4:00 p.m.||The Damned and the Sacred|
Jos de Putter (The Netherlands, 2002)
(Dans, Grozny, dans). The creation of art within the rubble of war is the focus of this moving Dutch documentary on a children's dance troupe from strife-torn Chechnya. Bombed-out streets and the ruins of homes were the children's training grounds, with dances practiced underneath fighter jets and sniper fire, but a summer tour of Europe finds them in a different world of ornate concert halls and applauding crowds. "Remember, you represent Chechnya," their leader stresses to his young charges (some all of six years old), underlining the troupe's importance as cultural ambassadors to audiences more used to images of Chechens as violent terrorists than as twirling, costumed dancers. "We are not exterminated yet," he declares later, a statement that captures his troupe's other role: to use their artistry to give hope and resilience to a culture now under threat of both political and literal extermination.
• Photographed by Vladas Naudzius. (75 mins, In Chechen and Russian with English subtitles, 35mm, From Zeppers Film)