The Hermitage Dwellers

By Aliona van der Horst

The Hermitage Dwellers

The Hermitage Dwellers are the attendants, technicians and curators, who work at the Hermitage museum in the St. Petersburg. For these workers, the Hermitage is much more than a museum; it is a home, a shelter, healing the wounds inflicted by Russian history and by the struggle of everyday life in the post-soviet era. Aliona van der Horst’s film combines their personal stories with images taken from Russian history, reflecting on the meaning of beauty in the lives of these people and the love of the "inhabitants" towards "their" Hermitage. An uplifting, deeply moving, and beautifully crafted film, exploring the labyrinth of the museum through its people and their work.

The Hermitage Dwellers


Introductory film: Les Enfants du Musée (Children at the Museum)
By Agnès Varda

France 1964, 7min.
French. Subtitles: English

In Paris, in the halls of the Palais de Louvre, in the shadow of the grand masterpieces of paintings and sculptures, children get together. They are there to learn how to draw, paint and sculpt. But this is not a school like any other…

Linked to The Hermitage Dwellers and Russian Ball in Amsterdam, Aleksandr Sokurov’s 2002 tour de force Russian Ark is programmed in DOKU.ARTS.

  The Hermitage Dwellers
The Netherlands, 2004, 72min. Video
Russian. Subtitles: English

Screenplay: Aliona van der Horst
Cinematography: Maasja Ooms
Sound: Maria Mok, Marjo Postma, Hans Van Rooij
Editing: Teun Pfeil
Production: Valérie Schuit for Viewpoint Productions
Distribution: Illumina Films

Dutch director Aliona van der Horst was born in 1970 in Moscow, Russia. She studied Russian Language and Literature at the University of Amsterdam and film at the Dutch Film and Television Academy. In 1997 she started work as a director and since then has won several awards, among them the Grand Prize at the International Festival of Films on Arts, Montréal (2006) and the Silver Wolf Award at IDFA (2008).