Siaroza (2016)

Documentary | 47 min.

Movie Info

  • Release Date: 20 Jun, 2016
  • Country Belarus
  • Director Jerzy Kalina
  • Broadcaster
  • Submitting institution


Competition status – participant

The life of Sergiusz Niczyporuk, a resident of Budy Village in Białowieża Forest, is the focus of this film telling the fates of the Orthodox Christian Belarusian minority who inhabit the eastern portion of the Podlachian province. Like the overwhelming majority of his countrymen, he hails from a small, impoverished village. For centuries, his ancestors have tilled the earth, prayed in their Orthodox church and accepted each new change of power with fear while trying to ingratiate themselves and adapt to changing conditions. “Stay quiet — stay alive,” a father would teach his son, entirely convinced of the correctness of this maxim.

What about our protagonist, Sergiusz Niczyporuk? Was he like most of his countrymen, or would he be the vanguard of change coming to Podlachian province from the greater Polish world?  These were the questions that Radio Białystok reporter Jarosław Iwaniuk asked while creating a documentary radio program about Sergiusz Niczyporuk. A film crew accompanied him during the making of the program.

Sergiusz Niczyporuk and his family run an agrotourism complex in the village of Budy in Białowieża Forest. It comprises several wooden houses with guestrooms, a Russian banya, Osocznik Restaurant, and ethnographic exhibits, all circled by a traditional Podlachian fence made of willow trees — a “tyn.” The owners’ point of pride is a restored house from 1887, with original furnishings from the era.

Sergiusz Niczyporuk’s early life was not so idyllic. He was born in the village of Zaleszany, which in 1946 was put under military control by a Special Action Emergency Response unit of the National Military Union commanded by Captain Romuald Rajs, nicknamed “Bury.” During the insurgency, 17 residents died, including a significant portion of his family.

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