PAPUA NEW GUINEANS JOURNEY TO RUSSIA
To be released on Russian TV Channels in December 2019.
Documentary film about the historic visit of the New Guineans discovering for them the homeland of the outstanding scientist and traveler Nikolay Miklouho-Maclay, who discovered their country to the world. A descendant and full namesake of Nikolay Nikolaevich Miklouho-Maclay, founder and the Director of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation performed as a guide in the “Maclay village”, as the Papuans once called Russia. The visit was organized by the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation with the support of the “New Generation” program of the President of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Rossotrudnichestvo and the partners of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation.
Directed by: Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay
Produced by: Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay
Screenplay by: Elena Nupreichik
Cinematography: Alexei Bogdanov, Evgenii Bogatov
Film editor: Aleksandr Snegirev
Running time: approx. 26 minutes
Subject: culture, enlightenment
Location: Russia, Papua New Guinea
Language: English, Russian
Group of five young New Guineans (Michael Kabuni, Laurelle S. Pentanu, Midelit Okole Pius, Russel Yangin, and Betty Fatima Isikiel) arrive in Russia at the invitation of Miklouho-Maclay Jr. They have heard about the largest Country in the world, read about it, studied its history, but never saw it with their own eyes. The New Guineans, who are going to spend about two weeks in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow, will have to confirm or debunk the stereotypes and find answers to a lot of questions. What Russia really is? Is it really that cold here? What kind of people live in the homeland of the famous ethnographer and anthropologist Miklouho-Maclay, who is still remembered and respected in New Guinea and Australia after more than a century and a half? What kind of culture the Russians have? What is really important and valuable for them?
The viewer, in turn, also has an opportunity to discover the modern Papuan. Because, the characters of the film appear, of course, not in skirts of leaves and beads. They are dressed smart, well educated, speak fluent English; most of them studied Economics at the University of the capital of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, and even teach.
The camera catches the New Guineans in different scenes – as they were met at the airport, as they were given warm clothes (who could imagine oneself without those in Russian winter?), as they went for sightseeing. The guests, for the first time, taste “this strange Russian food” – mustard and jellied meat, as well as the other dishes of authentic Soviet cuisine, visit the Saint-Petersburg Pyshechnaya (historic doughnut restaurant), climb the top of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, walk along Nevsky Prospekt and Red Square.
In the famous book store, located in the building of the Singer House in Saint-Petersburg, they find a book of Maclay Jr. “Journey to the Maclay Coast”, written after the last expedition in 2017 about the studies on the Maclay Coast and about the local people keeping the memory of Maclay and historical ties between Russia and Papua New Guinea.
At the Moscow Station the New Guineans visit the exhibition “From Miklouho to Maclay”, dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Nikolay Ilyich Miklouho, the first chief of the Nikolaevsky (now Moscow) Station, the father of the Great traveler Nikolay Miklouho-Maclay.
No one could imagine that the guests would be given an opportunity to make a midday salvo from the Naryshkin Bastion of the Peter and Paul fortress! Or that they would have a chance to meet Yuri Solomin, People’s Artist of the USSR, Director and performer of the title role of the film about N.N. Miklouho-Maclay “The Coast of his life”.
The characters get special impressions at the Russian Geographical Society, where they see the talented drawings of the famous anthropologist, as well as in the Anthropological Museum, which exhibits remind them of their homeland. And the New Guineans confirm that their Country is a unique cultural place with the obvious presence of civilization in its cities while much has still remained unchanged in remote villages. There is no electricity, but there are Chiefs (though they call them otherwise); they still take the initiation ceremony and keep the traditional clothing, which they wear on holidays.
Flow of the film:
Basically, the narrators are the New Guineans themselves and, of course, Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay Jr., the man who, in fact, organized this historic trip.
Live spoken language convinces the audience of the sincerity of the main characters of the film. These New Guineans are in fact a new generation, the people who live today in the Country of the best Papuan friend of Maclay – Tui. Of course, their houses are not of piling construction, they grew up in more civilized conditions, and the more interesting to see in them echoes of the “old” and “new” Guinea, the one seen by the Great researcher Miklouho-Maclay, and the one seen by his descendant Miklouho-Maclay Jr.
The camera does not dictate the characters of the film how to move, on the contrary, it obeys their regime, following them almost everywhere and filming the meetings, their dialogues and spoken impressions.
Sincere, intimate interviews with the characters of the film, fragments of their “dynamic day”, reflections of their visit in an “intimate quiet evening” — the components of the documentary film “Papua New Guineans Journey to Russia”. Some stories of the characters are supplemented by the corresponding videos.
“Papua New Guineans Journey to Russia” — a film not only about a specific visit of the young New Guineans in Russia. It is about the mutual interest of the peoples of both Countries which is not fading out through the centuries. About this bond which does not just not break, but becomes stronger every year, through the centuries and continents.
Russia appears to the New Guineans as a Country with a cold climate, but with a very sincere and warm welcome.
The film ends with the departure of the main characters to their homeland and the most touching and profound words-impressions of this trip. The New Guineans, as well as Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay Jr., will appreciate the significance of this historic visit to Russia. Visit, that Miklouho-Maclay Sr. dreamt so much about.
It’s finally happened.
SONY is the technical partner of the project