Something Better to Come

Something Better to Come

Hanna Polak


Bulldozers crush everything that is dumped here day after day by armies of trucks. Amidst the stinking detritus of a wasteful civilisation, people scavenge for anything that might help them survive: leftover food, soap, jackets, containers of all shapes and sizes, mattresses, shoes.
Svalka is Europe‘s biggest waste dump: a fenced-in, heavily guarded area some 13 kilometres from Moscow and the Kremlin. is surreal- looking, hostile environment is home to people who have nowhere else to go. Including Yula: 12 years old, pretty, and despite everything full of hope and dreams. She smokes, drinks vodka, and wants to lead a normal life. Nothing out of the ordinary, but for her light years away. Ignored by society, most of the inhabitants of the Svalka are in urgent need of medical care. They treat their frost-bitten limbs themselves. The chances of finding work in the city are slim, their destitution is too obvious – a vicious circle.

»What if I don‘t have anywhere to live, don‘t have anything? Why do I have to disappear? I‘m a human!« one inhabitant asks Polak‘s camera. The Oscar-nominated film-maker spent fourteen years following the everyday lives of the people at the Svalka. She gives the invisible a voice. In poetic, harrowing pictures, she shows what the government is doing its best to hide. She takes her camera into the tiny shacks, hides herself amongst the inhabitants during police controls. She‘s there when Yula gets drunk and fights with her friends, when she falls in love, becomes pregnant, and wants to give up her child for adoption. She is also there when Yula escapes and at the age of 25 leaves the place she spent her childhood and youth. A poignant, very different look at Putin‘s Russia.

Awards für Something Better To Come (Selection)
Special Jury Prize International Documentary – Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2015 | VIKTOR Wettbewerb – DOK.fest München 2015 | Second Price of the Jury – DocumentaMadrid 2015 | Special Mention – ZagrebDox 2015 | Alpe Adria Cinema Award: Best Documentary – Trieste Film Festival 2015 | Special Jury Award – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2014


Hanna Polak


Marcin Kot Bastkowski, Hanna Polak


Keaton Henson, Kristian Eidnes Andersen


Danish Documentary Production, Hanna Polak Films


Danish Documentary Production

Hanna Polak

Born in Katowice, Poland, in 1967, Polak studied drama and worked at the theatre before studying at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. She has received numerous awards for her films, including an Oscar nomination for The Children of Leningradsky (2004). In addition to and with her work as a film-maker, Polak is also committed to humanitarian issues.

Films by Hanna Polak (Selection)
Love and Rubbish 2012 | Warsaw Battle 1920 in 3D 2010 | Faces of Homelessness 2010 | The Children of Leningradsky 2005 | Al. Tribute to Albert Maysles 2004