DOK Leipzig - Contemporary German Documentary - A Selection

The Woman with the Five Elephants

Vadim Jendrejko

Swetlana Geier is considered the greatest translator of Russian literature into German. She has just concluded her lifework for Zurich’s Ammann publishing house – completing new translations Dostoyevsky’s five great novels – known as the five elephants. Her work is characterized by a great and sensual feeling for language and an uncompromising respect for the writers she translates. Her life has been overshadowed by Europe’s varied history. Together with the film director Vadim Jendreyko, the eighty-fiveyear old woman is making her first trip from her chosen home in Germany back to the places of her childhood in the Ukraine. The film interweaves the story of Swetlana Geier’s life with her literary work and traces the secret of this inexhaustibly hard-working woman. It tells of great suffering, silent helpers and unhoped- for chances – and a love of language that outshines all else

Vadim Jendrejko

Vadim Jendreyko was born in 1965 in Germany and grew up in Switzerland. He attended grammar school, the Basel School of Applied Art and the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He realized his first film in 1986. In 2002, he and Hercli Bundi founded Mira Film GmbH, where he also works as producer and co-producer. Filmography: ‘Bashkim’ (2002), ‘Transit - Zürich Flughafen’ (2003), ‘Leistung am Limit’ (2004), ‘The Woman with the five Elephants’ (2009).

General sponsor

Die Frau mit den fünf Elefanten

Switzerland, Germany
2009, 93', color, video

Directed by:
Vadim Jendrejko

Screenplay by:
Vadim Jendreyko

Niels Bolbrinker, Stéphane Kuthy

Edited by:
Gisela Castronari

Daniel Amada, Martín Iannaccone

Hercli Bundi, Vadim Jendreyko, Thomas Tielsch

Produced by:
Mira Film

Festivals & Awards:

International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film - DEFA-Prize 2009; Visions du Réel - Special Mention 2009, Prix SRG SSR, Prix SSA / Suissimage