Glory days - Ben van Lieshout

portrait of a damaged area

Original Dutch film title:
portret van een gehavend gebied
91 minutes

The idealistic intentions with which the Kola peninsula has been explored since the beginning of the Russian revolution have left deep traces in the landscape and in the minds of people.

The Kola Peninsula, in northwestern Russia, above the Arctic Circle, was gradually developed and reclaimed after the Revolution of 1917 due to its rich mineral resources. Settlements and small towns emerged, named after the raw material mined: Apatite, Nikel, Titan.
Attracted by the unknown, geologists and mining engineers continued to flock to the High North from across the Soviet Union, inspired by adventurous dreams of virgin territory and the ideals of a future utopia. The development of the region paralleled the history of communism. And thus forms a blueprint of the aesthetics, the ideals and the desired way of life during the Soviet system.
From a hamlet with a handful of wooden houses Murmansk became the capital of the Arctic.
Due to its strategic location on the Barents Sea with the bases of the northern fleet and the nuclear submarines, the peninsula has been heavily militarized.
The film tells about the glory days of the old, optimistic generation and their shattered ideals; talks about an area that is suffering badly from the mining industry and about a young generation that mainly wants to leave. In the decay, the film also finds beauty and perspective, and signs of resilience of ordinary people.


script & direction: Ben van Lieshout
camera: Sergey Pashkov, Ben van Lieshout
production manager & interpreter: Tatyana Yassievich
editing: Jan Ketelaars
sound design / mix: Marc Lizier, Paul Gies
grading: Laurent Fluttert
image post-production: Loods Lux en Lumen
soundscapes & music: Guns for Hire, Serge van Lieshout
producers: Digna Sinke, Ben van Lieshout

this film is produced by SNG Film and Van Lieshout Filmproducties

this film is financially supported by:
Netherlands Film Fund
W.E. Jansen Fonds
SVF Directors NL Fonds
Abraham Tuschinski Fonds
Ministerie van BUZA