The DAU Project: History of One of Russia’s Biggest and Most Controversial Film Production


The DAU project was a unique and colossal film experiment that lasted for several years and employed hundreds of people. Back in 2005, it was conceived as a conventional biopic of Soviet scientist Lev Landau, however, quite soon the idea transformed dramatically. After the production settled in Kharkiv, Ukraine, the director Ilya Khrzhanovsky constructed a gigantic set - The Institute, a dynamic historical reconstruction of a Soviet-era science centre. The Institute was populated by hundreds of untrained extras, who would improvise the majority of their lines and actions. A single camera operated by renowned German cinematographer Jürgen Jürges followed them around. The Institute had functioned for three years, during which 700 hours of footage were filmed. During those years, information began to circulate in Russian media about horrific conditions on the set, continuous abuse from the director, and the disastrous impact the production had on the city. This research explores available information on the production of DAU and constructs a historical narrative that begins in 2005 and ends in current times. The research data is a collection of online materials published in different languages. The research describes controversies that followed the production and release of DAU, as well as brings up responses from the director and his cast and crew.

Author Information
Sergei Glotov, Tampere University, Finland

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2022
Stream: Film History

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Glotov S. (2022) The DAU Project: History of One of Russia’s Biggest and Most Controversial Film Production ISSN: 2188-9643 The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film 2022: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon