Putin’s Olympic Dream

Art & Culture

DocHouse have just announced 4 films that they'll be exhibiting throughout February, each with their own unique global identity. After scanning through the list, thinking that 'Displaced Perssons' sounded pretty interesting, I had a double-take triple-take when noticing the title 'Putin's Olympic Dream'. There have been so many news stories relating Sochi 2014 with homophobia, I hadn't even began to question the effects that the games were having on the people of Sochi.


Director Hans Pool is able to show just what these games have meant for Russia, particularly Sochi, and to give us an insight into the lives of people from all walks of life who live in the surrounding area. Of all the messages that Pool conveys, none shine through more clearly than his highlighting of the class divide. The film uses case studies of local residents who seem to be trying their hardest to remain upbeat despite the unfair hand which they've been dealt. If you don't have at least some level of sympathy for the man with the incredible beard, all hope for you is lost.


Many activist groups worldwide have voiced their opposition to some of the antics surrounding these games. There is probably good reason for most of this uproar; Pool is able to show several instances of unfair living conditions and poor treatment from the state. However, if you're of one of the finer classes then you can always just go and chill out at the local Sanitorium which has all the mod-cons, including a rotating TV that can face the bedroom or the living room. The sheer ignorance of the people in these places with regard to the tough, toiling lives of some Sochi families is a real shame.


Probably the most question-raising aspect of the documentary is the sheer acceptance of the corruption and unfair deals being processed in the area. One woman looks after several workers from Central Asia and doesn't know when, or whether at all, she will be paid. It is only out of the goodness of her heart that she takes care of these men, who are themselves victims of contractless work and could easily be deported if they decided to kick up a fuss about their rights. Pool does show that there are people, mainly activists, who are willing to look out for their fellow man yet the general levels of greed and selfishness.


This is by no means a film for 'light entertainment' on any level. It is a brilliant, insightful view of what goes on behind closed doors and how these global events can have effects on a local, personalised scale. You might find yourself wanting to boo certain people as they come on screen because of their selfish nature, although that might just be my fault for choosing to watch this over the football. 


Whatever your viewpoint on Sochi 2014, this documentary is well worth a watch to widen your horizons.


Ciaran Steward


You can win 2 tickets to the 'Putin's Olympic Dream' premiere simply by emailing comps@theransomnote.co.uk with the subject line 'BEARSONUNICYCLES'.



DocHouse are screening 'Putin's Olympic Dream' at The Lexi Cinema on February 13th at 8.50pm (There are no adverts so the film will start promptly at this time. Tickets will be available to book soon and you will be able to book them through clicking here.