Two extraordinary human destinies, caught up in the implacable political machinery of the burgeoning Soviet Union of the 1920s, prey to famine. Based on hitherto unreleased archives, this incredible scientific controversy takes on its full significance at a time when the whole world is wondering how on Earth it can feed the people of tomorrow.
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A story about two very different men: one of them, Nikolai Vavilov, was a botanical genius who travelled the world, accumulating a vast wealth of biodiversity. The other - Trofim Lyssenko - was a talented agronomist who claimed he was able to increase crop-yields through his pseudo inventions. In the young Soviet Union plagued by famine, they would each attempt, in their own way, to solve the problem which haunted the communist authorities: how to feed the people.
The genius would die of hunger in a Stalinist prison, the charlatan ended up as president of the academy of sciences...
Also check out director Gulya Mirzoeva's previous film, Afghanistan 1979, The War That Changed the World (58') - click here.
“A rich variety of archives accurately tell the fate of two scientists who were both dreaming of a generous agricultural production. One did so with honesty, the other not.”
(Marie-Joëlle Gros – telerama.fr)
“In this archival documentary – many of them hitherto unpublished - Russian director Gulya Mirzoeva, born in Tajikistan, of Russian culture but now living in France, tells the story of this rivalry with dramatic consequences.”
(Lucien Jedwab – lemonde.fr)
Festivals and Awards:
* 2018:"Special mention at Grand Prix AST" at Pariscience, Intl Scientific Festival. Festival (Oct., 2018, Paris).
* 2018: Pessac History Festival, selected at the "Panorama du documentaire", 19 - 21 Nov. 2018 (Pessac, France)