Bureaucracy would, of course, be happy to exist silently and fruitlessly. But in the cinema, the lack of expression is also an expression. All the actions of the official cinema prove that it is busy searching for the safest possible way of expression, preferably synonymous with silence.
The only new feature film officially released in the country this autumn and in the last two years is the mentioned "Detonation" by Ivan Paŭłaŭ, which gives certain ideas about currently allowed screen discourse.
It is not difficult to notice that it is safe precisely because it coincides with the Year of Historical Memory. In Minsk, "Detonation" was shown together with the ATN stories (in cooperation with the KGB) "Without a statute of limitations" - about the "genocide of the Belarusian people during the war". In Žlobin, for example, it was instrumental on the Day of National Unity together with "A triangle letter from the front" master classes, "Historical memory and truth" banners, soldier's porridge and other attributes of the state cosplay of the victory - despite the fact that the film is about an undeniably peaceful life and post-war mine clearing in Belarus.
Notably, in “Detonation” an image of a shapeshifter character (a positive hero who turns out to be a negative one) is reborn after long oblivion: an Osoaviakhim teacher, who turned out to be a member of a gang and took part in a shooting of civilians. Since the 1930s, the motif of a shapeshifter has saved Belarusian cinema while it was avoiding direct expressions. And paranoia apparently still looks like the most economical way of understanding reality.
This avoidance is made even more poignant by the fact that the film - then called "Flame under the ashes" - was originally planned to be not at all about post-war mine clearing, but about the fire in the NKGB club in 1946. During the production, the series about the fire turned into a series about current and post-war deminers’ cooperation with - get ready - the Mine Action Centre of the Ministry of Defense, and from it into a full-length film exclusively about the post-war period.
It looks like a good story about chasing a safe way of expression. A crucial point in it is the cooperation with the Ministry of Defense. Now films again have to be justified by the need of important state agencies. And in the near future, one should not expect anything, except for the amplified - not sly, like in the herbivorous 2010s - but downright ceremonial servility.
In such circumstances, we will once again look to amateur cinema for a long time. If only because of the fact that at the "Hliadač" festival it managed to resonate with the emotional reality, which we now struggle to understand and which official cinema is stubbornly squeezing into the marginal space, all the while remaining within its characteristic themes of loneliness, splitting (and bifurcation) and disintegration and in the captivity of dim plots and images.