The 3 Rooms of Melancholia / Melancholian Kolme Huonetta
The Chechen war is the setting for the film. The inability of adults to resolve the war gives rise to a generation upon whom hatred has been visited like the issue of a deity incarnate. Children have taken on a burden of hatred which they believe springs from within. There is no need to seek its causes. The transposed hatred casts a pall to the depths of their minds; they are accompanied throughout their lives by an inexplicable melancholia and sudden outbursts of rage.
The film shows Russian children on Kronstadt, an island that lies before St. Petersburg. There President Putin has established by decree a military school for orphaned children. They are being trained in the Kronstadt cadet academy as child soldiers. The imagined enemy is the Chechen. He is the foe whose utter defeat turns a soldier into a hero of the fatherland.
The film shows Chechen children in Chechya and Ingushetia, in the family of Xhadizhat Gataeva, which now consists of 63 orphans for whom Xhadizhat has vowed to act as mother. She has brought them together from the ruins of a devastated Grozny. Almost all of their parents were killed by the Russians. Xhadizhat herself was placed at the age of six in a Russian children’s home in Grozny Icons of the enemy have been inexorably transposed to both sides.
These children have the serenity of a leafless tree, as if they already had within themselves one life, as if all the pain and longing that go in to adult life, all the relinquishing, had already been endured.
When they fall silent, they look deep into another world. In silence we are all kindred species.