Вне времени

In 2008 Sergey Yastrzhembskiy made his long-standing idea come true – shooting documentary series, dedicated to the disappearing cultures of Africa. The project was called "Beyond the Passafe of Time." The goal is creation of a “Red List” of the threatened peoples of the Dark Continent, which, according to specialists, can completely lose their identity in the coming decade.

Waiting for Nyambe (01 May 2011)

Film information: 

Year - 2011
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Languages – English, Russian

The Lozi people are a small ethnic group primarily of the Zambezi valley. They are a people of blacksmiths, carpenters , dancers, and, above all - fishermen. Today they number only 50,000. But their historical memory is full of tales of the great and powerful monarchy built by their forefathers four centuries ago with its gods and heroes.


The litunga, or king, is the symbol of national culture and heritage of the Lozi. For the first time since 1928 the ruler of Barotseland has agreed to be interviewed and accompanied by a film crew throughout the whole ceremony of Kuomboka, meaning “to come out of the water” in the local language. Once a year, after the rainy season, the Zambezi River floods its banks in the Western Province of Zambia. And then Litunga alongside his large family leaves his winter residence and, escorted by his numerous subjects, moves by boat to his summer palace in the uplands.



Descendants of the Pale Fox (01 January 2011)

Film information:
Year - 2011
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Language – Russian


The film speaks about one of the most mysterious peoples on Earth who live in the South-Eastern part of Mali - the Dogon. The Dogon have commanded the interest of the whole world thanks to their original cosmogonic myths on the tribe’s origins that place a premium on Sirius the star and its dwarf companion Sirius B.
Kundu, where huts on the Bandigara rocks are lying like nests , is home to a large family headed by three brothers, who are healers and hunters, famous all over the Dogon land.
Life of the Dogon, like that of a vast majority of African tribes, is inextricably linked to ancestral cult. No important event is ever possible without ancestor worship.The most important holidays, such as the beginning of farm work, or remembrance day rites cannot do without a chief attribute of the Dogon culture – the masks. There are over 70 types of masks. The Dogon have a whole mask society Ava, which engages circumcised men. Here they adopt the mask-making skills, as well as learn the language of masks – sigi so, which, according to a myth, was once the vernacular of the "Pale Fox", the progenitor of the Dogon.
In the company of a young man named Isaac, the son of one of the hunters, you will learn about the multifaceted Dogon culture, their way of life, numerous crafts and traditions, such as wedding ceremony, hunting preparations , the intricacies of farming, storing and cooking.

 

A STONE-AGE KALASHNIKOV (01 June 2010)

Film information: 

Year - 2010
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Languages – Russian, English

A stone-age Kalashnikov is another documentary project of "Beyond the Passage of Time" fund, dedicated to one of the most mysterious civilizations of Earth – Africa.
The film tells the story of one of the most belligerent tribes, the Surma (also known as Suri). They live in the Omo Valley, a region in Southern Ethiopia bordering Sudan. In order to catch their tribesmen’s eye, the Surma women continue to follow the ancient tradition of cutting the bottom lip, inserting a clay plate, gradually increasing its diameter and stretching the skin. The plate can reach 40 cm in diameter. Size of the plate defines ladies' social status.
Almost every Surma man has a Kalashnikov machine-gun of his own, one he never parts with. It has become one usual attribute of the Surma men – quite like the two-meter Donga sticks. These are used once a year in a savage joust involving several villages. Winning the Donga is what most Surma men desire, for victory yields everyone’s respect and admiration and, most importantly, graces of the tribe’s beauty queen.

CHILDREN OF THE SAVANNAH (01 April 2010)

Film information: 

Year - 2010
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Languages – Russian, English

Over the last fifteen years, Sergey Yastrzhembskiy and his crew are the first people to have obtained Botswana government’s permission to film the Kalahari Bushmen.

The first 26-minute episode focuses on the life of the Bushmen, hunters and gatherers, pioneers of the Kalahari desert in Northern Botswana, who can be deemed ancestors of humanity in a way. Over the thousands of years their lifestyle remains practically intact, as if speaking for the name given by European colonists: “Bushmen” or “children of the savannah”.

The author examines the contents of a Bushman’s bag, learns the secret of their lethal weapon and discovers what bad habit they have been into for centuries. The very heart of the Kalahari sees a true thriller unfold, as the Bushmen, accompanied by the film crew, set off on horses after antelope Oryx, one of the strongest savannah animals. This unique scene is emotionally charged enough to electrify even those who are 100% indifferent to hunting.
In the second 26-minute episode the seemingly unavailable and mysterious Bushmen open up to the film crew and speak of their life, their values and their outlook.
The Bushmen art is another leitmotif of the film. Yastrzhembskiy is consulted by Qani Xiite, a young Bushwoman, professional dancer and songwriter, and an expert in the field. Guided by Qani, we will dive into the amazing world of music, dance, games and superstitions, full of shades and nuances, to finally witness the trance dance – the main sacrament of the Bushmen.

People the Size of a Fist (01 March 2010)

Film information: 

Year - 2010
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Languages – Russian, English


“People the Size of a Fist” is the fourth documentary in the “Beyond the Passage of Time” series devoted to rapidly vanishing cultures of Africa, the most enigmatic continent.
The film crew sets off for Lokomo in Eastern Cameroon in order to delve into the daily life, traditions and customs of the Baka Pygmies.
In the first episode Sergey Yastrzhembskiy introduces the audience to a small Baka people who are not involved in agriculture or cattle breeding, but rather prefer to make use of what nature offers: fishing, collecting tubes and hunting, which they do with a lot of skill based on profound knowledge of the flora and fauna.
It's important to mark that these people are fairly familiar with civilization. They exchange meat and animal hides for old clothes, bottles and spear tips with the neighbouring Bantu peoples.
The film also shows strict hierarchy in the tribe and shared responsibilities and role. For instance, the women build huts, make kitchen utensils, do gathering and fishing, while the men hunt.
But what they all share is music, song and dance: the Pygmies are famous for their unique polyphonic singing, which is considered part of the UNESCO heritage.

Over the Bulls’ Backs (01 February 2010)

Film information:
Year - 2010
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Languages – Russian, English

Over the Bull's Backs is the 10th film of the foundation “Beyond the Passage of Time”. The film speaks of the Hamer people that numbers no more than 15,000 people. They live in the Omo River Valley at the border between Ethiopia and Sudan. Women and men spend hours by the river, covering their bodies with sophisticated patterns of sand and clay. A highlight of the film is the puberty rite of the tribe. In order to become a man, a Hamer boy is supposed to pass three trials: to dare to raise his hand against a woman and whip her, to be able to fence off a cow herd and to run over bulls’ backs. The youngster who misses a step will never be able to become a man and give birth to a new Hamer generation.

 

The Last Chevaliers of the Desert (01 August 2009)

Film information: 

Year - 2009
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – 26 minutes (Russian version – 44 minutes)
Languages – English, French, Russian

 

The Last Chevaliers of the Desert is the first documentary of the series “Beyond the Passage of Time”.
The Berbers, who swore allegiance to the desert centuries ago, have drawn the attention of photographer and traveler Sergey Yastrzhembskiy, formerly a politician and diplomat, aide to the first two Russian presidents. With but a small crew he sets off for Morocco to document the nomadic lifestyle of the Berbers as bequeathed by their ancestors.
In his pilgrimage across the Southern Moroccan plains, the director seeks to figure out what anchors the indigenous Berbers in the desert. Faced with hardships like ill-conditioned facilities, scanty pastures due to long droughts, they still manage to handweave cloth for their tents, range up camels in caravans, rattle and clatter evil spirits away, and pass their fathers’ long-cherished secrets on to children.
The crew prize the Berbers’ hospitality, taste fresh-baked bread and traditional sweet mint tea, and even join a caravan. They also pay a windfall visit to a Berber wedding: these days, fewer and fewer nomads get married right in the Sahara.
The concluding conversation with an old sheikh constitutes the apex of both the documentary and the project on the whole. Indeed, little does man need to be happy.

Sacred Fire of the Himba

Film information: 

Year - 2009
Director - Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
Duration – Two episodes, each – 26 minutes
Language – English, Russian

Sacred Fire of the Himba is the third "Out of Time " documentary project dedicated to disappearing civilizations of the mysterious continent - Africa.

The Himba , perhaps, is one of the most original tribes of Africa . They live in their own world and time has no power over them. Even the influence of the Western civilization , embracing the whole African continent in the 20th century, has bypassed them, leaving their traditions intact. The film shows the real life of this tribe, which the Himba jealously guard from outsiders. Sergey Yastrzhembskiy handled permission from the elders to shoot the initiation rite – knocking out the teeths of the children. Also in the film shows how the Himba cover their bodies and hair with ocher, perform rituals in honor of their ancestors - a kind of religion of the tribe. The Crew also manage to make precious funeral footages of a leader’s mother.

Like hundreds of years ago the Himba reject all material values. The only wealth for them is the cattle. The documentary shows a specific role for the cult of the ancestors, which plays the role of religion in this tribe. Communication with ancestors is supported by the sacred fire that never dims. Serendipitously the crew witnessed the most important Himba rite - ceremony honoring ancestors: once a year all the clans of the tribe leave their habitat and go to the graves of their ancestors, to honor their memory .
This film shows the immutable lifestyle of the Himba, its traditions and ceremonies which remained unchanged for hundreds of years.