Series: Cities by the Sea

Saint Petersburg


A film by Sebastian Lindemann
© 2015 / 43 min (dt.) / 52 min (eng.) / HD / 16:9 / Stereo

St. Petersburg is the most glamorous city on the Baltic Sea. When Peter the Great began building a new royal residence on the swampy banks of the river Neva, it marked the start of a new era. Russia gained access to the Baltic Sea – and a "window to Europe". Today, the world's northernmost city is characterised by its great historical heritage and the standards of a modern, cosmopolitan city. The film portrays people who shaped the city with their knowledge and creativity and have paved the way to St. Petersburg's future.

In the summer months, when the days grow longer, the "white nights" develop their unique charm and bathe the city in a magical glow. The historical city centre then becomes a unique backdrop for Anton Waganow's hobby. He is a "roofer" who climbs on top of St. Petersburg buildings – in search of the city's unusual panoramas. Anton knows a few tricks to enter the buildings. It's always a race against time. Residents sometimes call the police when they hear suspicious sounds. And there's also the risk of being spotted from below. So far, there is no official ban on roofing.

Since Russia opened up to the West, European stores and luxury goods have dominated shopping streets like Nevsky Prospect. Russian cuisine has also been pushed into the background. Igor Grischetschkin is head chef at Kokoko, a small restaurant in the city centre. He hopes his creations will help popularise Russian cuisine again. Igor has decided to use only seasonal products for his dishes. Together with expert herbalist Natalia, Igor visits the forests on the edge of the city in search of ingredients to include in his dishes, such as his own borscht soup, which he refers to as Borscht 3.0. He has recreated the traditional soup with new ingredients. Igor Grischetschkin has set trends with his new Russian cuisine. Kokoko is considered by gourmets to be one of the best restaurants in the city.

Navigator Alexej Rumjantsev's shift begins shortly before midnight. Ships heading inland and then along the Volga to the Caspian Sea all have to pass through St. Petersburg. They rely on his experience. From 2 am, when the Neva bridges open, every minute counts as he guides the ships in convoy through the city. Up to 15 ships pass through St. Petersburg every night. For the navigators, it's a challenge, for onlookers on the banks of the river, a spectacle. They gather to watch the passing ships or simply to enjoy the white nights.



Buch und Regie: Sebastian Lindemann
Kamera: Olaf Bitterhoff
Schnitt: Verena Schönauer
Ton: Harald Vonend
Musik: Nils Kacirek, Milan Meyer-Kaya
Tonmischung: Tomas Bastian
Kommentarsprecher: Christian Baumann (dt.), David Ingram (eng.)
Aufnahmeleitung: Eduard Botchanov
Produktionsleitung: Hanna Schuster, Kerstin Horner
Producer: Eva Rink
Produzent: Thomas Wartmann
Redaktion: Christian Cools, ARTE
Ulrike Becker, SWR

Eine Koproduktion von Filmquadrat.dok GmbH und ARTE in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Südwestrundfunk.

Mit Unterstützung von Creative Europe. 

© 2015



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