Switzerland, Germany


Swetlana Geier is considered the greatest translator of Russian literature into German. She has just concluded her lifework: new translations of Dostoyevsky's five great novels, also known as "the five elephants". Her work is characterised by a great and sensual feeling for language and an uncompromising respect for the writers she translates. Swetlana's life has been overshadowed by Europe's varied history. Together with Vadim Jendreyko, the 85-year-old woman is making her first trip from her chosen home in Germany back to the places of her childhood in the Ukraine. The film interweaves the story of Swetlana Geier's life with her literary work and traces the secret of this inexhaustibly hard-working woman. It tells of great suffering, silent helpers and unhoped-for chances -- and a love of language that outshines everything else.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Vadim Jendreyko

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary Award – Prix Arte 2009