A film essay and a horror documentary full of pain, hope, femininity, and a struggle for freedom
Mara is a hybrid experimental documentary essay. We see the violence that has spread all over Belarus, as Alexander Lukashenko clings to power after disputed and controversial election results. There are groups of military men in black with their faces covered. They don't even need reasons to arrest you.
A young woman embodies Mara, a female spirit in Slavic mythology who comes to people in their sleep to bring them good dreams or nightmares. Through the mythical character, she tries to cope with the frightening reality. Mara creates hyper visuals to describe the difficult emotional experiences of ordinary Belarusians. The narrative invites the viewer to join Mara while she watches the story unfold. Haunted by the scenes on the streets, she is caught between facing her reality and escaping into her dreams. The film flips between esthetical dream images and real footage of police brutality. This is an essay about a mass nightmare, a nightmare from which a whole nation cannot wake up.