Film about opposition figures – “Navalny reminds us that we should not be complacent” – News

Alexei Navalny is the most famous and influential member of the opposition in Russia. Hardly anyone has approached him like Canadian director Daniel Rohr. In his award-winning documentary “Navalny,” Rohr accompanied him for several months: shortly after Alexej Navalny awoke from a coma after a failed poison attack, until his arrest in Russia.

Daniel Rohr

Canadian director


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Daniel Rohr (born in 1993) is a Film Director from Toronto, Canada. His first movie, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, opened the Toronto Film Festival in 2019. Rohr was only 26 years old at the time.

Rohr has received numerous awards for “Navalny,” including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance 2022.

SRF News: Daniel Rohr, how did you earn Navalny’s trust?

Daniel Rohr: I encouraged him to think of a possible future where he would go back to Russia and be arrested. In prison, he needs a way to keep his name in the mind of the world. I explained to him that the documentary would do just that. Then when we filmed together, we slowly built a relationship and trust.

Revealing the details of a secret mission to assassinate the Russian opposition leader over the phone is absolutely ridiculous.

The film shows Navalny searching for his attackers who tried to poison him. They managed to film a confession in an open telephone conversation. How was that possible?

I think we have an idea of ​​how spies and agents work. But as we show in our movie, many of these seasoned clients are actually quite dumb. Revealing the details of a secret mission to assassinate the Russian opposition leader over the phone is absolutely ridiculous. Putin’s regime is built on corruption and nepotism.

Do you think Alexei Navalny could have done more had he not gone back to Russia?

In the end, it comes down to the question of the value of a political prisoner. I think there is value to being a political prisoner, even if it’s tough and tough. Navalny is in solitary confinement in this terrible gulag, but he’s still so powerful that the eyes of the world are on him.

Navalny can show the world that Putin is not Russia and Russia is not Putin – which is very important right now.

Do you think he can really make a difference out of prison?

Navalny can show the world that Putin is not Russia and Russia is not Putin – which is very important right now. There is an alternative vision of what Russia could be. This is what Navalny and his team are bravely defending and fighting for.

As a politician, Navalny was also a populist. Did you make him so heroic?

I am a film director, not a journalist. I am interested in the truth, but also in emotions. But apart from that: I am absolutely convinced that one cannot be objective when it comes to values ​​such as democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. But if I want to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, I must ask Navalny the hard questions. i did it. And he had the courage and courage to answer them.

What have you personally taken with you since that time with Navalny?

Navalny always reminded me of the value and necessity of discussion and debate. It must be remembered that dialogue with political opponents is necessary and vital in a democracy. This is what Navalny defends more than anything else. And at the end of the movie, he reminds us that tyrants and dictators can only be evil when good people do nothing. Navalny reminds us that we should not be idly by.

The conversation was led by Barbara Luthi.

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