Crystal Swan Khrustal

Darja Žuk / Belarus, Russia, Germany, United Arab Emirates / 2018 / 95 min / English, Russian

A Kafkaesque comedy about a Belarusian girl’s dream to earn a living as a professional DJ in Chicago. This energetic debut from director Darya Zhuk, pulsating to the rhythm of 90s house, was the first Belarusian candidate for Best Foreign Language Academy Award.

festivals, awards Karlovy Vary 2018, Odessa 2018 (Grand-Prix)

Post-Soviet Minsk, 1990s, a time of analogue phones and audio cassettes. Young Velya has a law degree, but dreams of going to the US and becoming a professional DJ. Belarus is suffering an economic crisis with high unemployment, and its citizens receive payment in kind. In order to obtain a visa and fulfil her dream, Velya needs to provide evidence at the embassy that she has a permanent job. But then fortuitous events lead her to a backwater village where her destiny interlocks for a time with a local family planning a wedding.

“As the Iron curtain fell, my whole generation rushed out to seek a better life. Once I ran into my neighbour on the streets of Manhattan and neither of us were particularly surprised. It was so common to emigrate. /.../ The setup in this story is based on real stories from the 90s, when the flow of information was not facilitated by internet. They felt very personal; I really admired these women who went on a wild chase after their American Dream. The 90s were a time of tremendous change for Belarus but also a time of wild opportunities. I always thought we haven’t reflected on it enough.” (Darya Zhuk)

Darja Žuk
The Belarusian-born director Darya Zhuk discovered filmmaking while studying economics at Harvard and it derailed her life. Today, her films have been shown and often awarded at numerous film festivals around the world, including SXSW, Palm Springs, Listapad and Odessa. She strives to tell fun stories about strong, diverse, and shocking women. She lives and works between Minsk and Brooklyn.

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