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Kingdom of Heaven at Lake Baikal

Kingdom of Heaven at Lake Baikal


The Siberian Kossack Valerij Kurenkov (60) suffers a serious accident 35 years ago and is paralyzed from the hip down. Almost two decades he can only move with the help of crutches. The doctors no longer believe in his recovery. As if by a miracle, however, one last operation attempt is still successful. Valerij calls it "his miracle". He then takes a vow: from now on he wants to serve God through good deeds. He begins to build three churches with donations and his own labour, which are supposed to form a monastery complex on the western shore of Baikal, with his own agriculture, social and cultural program. But then the unexpected happens: the Archbishop of Irkutsk, who actually wanted to support him with blessing, advice and action, is developing an ever-increasing opposition to his plans. Does he see his own power endangered by Valerij's winning nature, coupled with a successful entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering sense of mission? Despite these resistances, Valerij does not give up. If he can build a monastery, he thinks about it, he can also become a monk to run the monastery. However, his marriage would have to be annulled and his wife would also have to become a nun, which she does not want. In the meantime the churches are almost finished, but their future is uncertain...

Valerij's monastery project is divided. His messianic mission-consciousness fascinates, but also overtaxes many of his fellow men. Based on Goethe's "Faust", one can say that Valerij is part of the force that always wants good and always creates evil...


D 2016, 43 Min., produced for ZDF/ arte
Script & Director: ARTEM FUNK & THOROLF LIPP
Soundrecording & Translations: ARTEM FUNK
Producer: MARTINA SPRENGEL (doc.station)
Commissioning Editor: LINDE DEHNER (ZDF)

D 2017, 43 minutes, commissioned by ZDF/ arte

Idea: Artem Funk
Script & Directing: Artem Funk & Thorolf Lipp
Camera & Line Production: Thorolf Lipp
Editing: Thomas Kulik
Sound: Artem Funk