Aleksandr Shapiro was born on the 1 of January of 1969, in a family of a Chemical troops general of Chernigov military region. Through his life he was surrounded with dangerous chemicals, rubber gas masks and overwhelming alcoholism of the USSR army command personnel. In 1985 at the age of 16 he left home and applied for Cherson Marine School. In 1987 Aleksandr was called for the military service but in two weeks he was commissioned due to the psychiatric diagnosis of "impaired personality development within the framework of schizophrenia". At 1990, affected with the heroic deeds of Martin Luther, Shapiro left Kiev and went to Vladivostok at the far East of the former USSR. He spent seven years there, studying philosophy and developing his own conception of God and consumer goods interrelation. He started a philosophical school named "L'ecole Normale", which consisted of more than 30 followers. In 1996 Aleksandr returned to Kiev and founded 16 Insect movie studio. Aleksandr was the first director in Ukraine who started shooting ads on film. Besides commercials and music videos Aleksandr made several independent short features: "The Suitcase", "100 = 188". In 1999 in Saint Petersburg Shapiro made his independent feature "Descartes". In 2000 he started a high-budget project "The Death Match". The realization of the project was postponed due to financial difficulties. In 2001 Shapiro borrowed money from unofficial and non-commercial sources and started workig on a full-length feature movie "Cikuta" which was finished by summer 2002.
1997 "The Suitcase" / "Chemodan", 16 mm, 10'
1998 "100 = 188", 16 mm, b/w, 10'
1999 "Descartes", 35мм, 10'
1999 "Clinic" / "Klinika", 35мм, 10'
2002 "Cricket" / "Cikuta", 35мм, 108'
2004 "The Guidebook" / "Putevoditel", 35 мм, 110
2006 "Kheppi pipl" / "Happy People"
Aleksandr Shapiro in IMDb:
---The Guidebook (2004)
Written, directed and edited by: Aleksandr Shapiro
Producer: Sergei Baranov
Director of photography: Pavel Oleksienko
Original music by: Evgeni Kekuch
Song by: Angel
Cast: Alexei Gorbunov, Vladimir Gorianski, Vitali Linetski, Georgi Drozd, Konstantin Shaforenko, Eugenia Gladij, Alla Sergijko, Vladimir Jamnenkoand others
Runtime: 108 min.
Production: Ukraine, 2005 Lazaretti Reproduction by request of 1+1 TV-channel
Berlinale 2005 Official Selection (International Forum of New Cinema)
11 short novels about the underground points of interest of the Ukrainian capital.
...Housband and wife want to change their flat. During their 10-minutes dialogue
we understand the situation with the market of real estate in Kiev and priorities of the citizens.
...Three drug-addicted teenagers are planing their evening. Thanks to them we learn about the nightlife of Kiev.
... In sauna two discharged cooks are discussing all restorants of Kiev...
In the film there are 11 short novels about the points of interest in Kiev. This gives to the
spectator maximum usefull and interesting information about Ukrainian capital - only real facts, prices and routes.
Imagine several cameras moving from Kiev outskirts to downtown, filming the most interesting moments of urban life in different parts of Kiev. The main characters of the movie are its viewers - every day they get into various situations and solve various problems but the leading part in the picture belongs to Kiev itself. Urban tendencies, tastes, prices, priorities, routes, labor and housing market, present - past - future - altogether it forms canvas of "The Guidebook". Philosophical aspect of the movie can be determined as "search for the heart of the city" - a place or a composition of components that makes Kiev a European capital and makes it different from other cities of the world. "The Guidebook" is not just a movie for aesthetical amusement it's a chance to get the most important and interesting information about the city in a short time.Press about the film:
"The Guidebook" is a rough and sweeping author's guide to the city of modern Kiev. At the same time Shapiro's original film includes moments of history of soviet Judaism, pictures of total destruction during WWII and many others. There is a lot of impressive chronicle shown in a very dramatic, nervous way of cutting. A strong and confident manner of shooting is combined with a drastic manner of image processing. The language in the movie sounds very much like slang in Kira Muratova's works, but it is more rude, more harsh in a specific Kiev way. The movie consists of novels that in a way remind us of "Coffee and cigarettes" by Jim Jarmusch (speaking of the atmosphere). The actors are the real Kiev subcultural "party" characters who star under their own names. All discussions in the movie go around well-known things and places (a novel about clubbing one about housing market a novel about different tourist attractions for those who are in town for the first time a talk of how to get a taxi or how much it would cost to rent an apartment, and so on). Of course, there's an introduction and a conclusion - Shapiro's trade mark autobiographical philosophical monologues (about untimely decease of a narrative who tells the story). All in all - this is an unusual and conceptual work!
Anton Mazurov, Arthouse.ru
We can feel director's love to his object in every frame. The fact that the film about the capital of Ukraine, awakened from everyday dream, will be shown in the context of new European cinema [in Forum Berlinale] is very symbolical.
Shapiro lives beyond good and evil - on his own side.
The picture is full of a unique atmosphere of not always pleasant but recognizable reality of our time. And what ever views appear in Putevoditel - right up to disgusting - the author's message is surely humane: it is our City - as it is, and we, its citizens, are also so as we are. My City, you're Saint... - such is a refrain of Putevoditel's soundtrack. We can nothing to add to it.
Synopsis, statement and interview:
http://www.berlinale.de/external/de/filmarchiv/doku_pdf/20053593.pdfHappy People (2006)
A Panopticum/Lazaretty production. (International sales: Lazaretty, Kiev, Ukraine.) Produced by Sergey Baranov, Aleksey Serkov. Directed, written by Aleksandr Shapiro.
With: Konstantin Zabaykalski, Vitaly Linetski, Katya Vinogradova, Fedor Bondarchuk, Aleksey Gorbunov, Alek-sandr Bashirov.
By DEBORAH YOUNGTwo bored rich friends play strange games with each other in "Happy People," an incomprehensible, close to unwatchable exercise in direc-torial narcissism from the Ukraine. On his third feature, director Aleksandr Shapiro ("Cikuta," "The Guidebook") drops every hint of narrative in favor of overwrought images of contempo decadence, riddled with machine-gun editing remi-niscent of a video clip or a car commercial. Out-of-focus shots and substandard tech work add to the misery of this low point in the Berlin Panorama, which tallied numerous walkouts.
Dressed like a latter-day Blues Brother, businessman Herman (Konstantin Zabaykalski) runs around a gray, concrete city with shaggy-haired free spirit Bambizo (Vitaly Linetski.) Though rich, they're not happy, because life is so boring. It's a stretch to make sense of their non-stop non sequi-turs, but apparently they take turns giving each other a mission to carry out. As the film wears on, an attractive researcher, Dr. Adlernova (Katya Vinogradova), tells Herman about Bambizo's brilliant past. Random attempts at modernism in voiceover, noise over, and post-industrial city-scapes are too little to hold inter-est in this confused would-be farce.
Camera (color), Mikhail Tonkonogov; music, Evgeny Kekukh; production designer, Ivan Levchenko; costume designer, Sergey Yermakov. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 13, 2006. Running time: 105 MIN.