Coca - The Dove from Chechnya

North American Premiere

Switzerland | 86 MINUTES | Russian, Chechen, English |


Born in exile in Kazakhstan, Zainap Gashsaeva, a Chechen businesswoman who has raised four children, in 1994 began documenting the atrocious human rights violations that are daily events in her homeland, where Europe's longest running conflict since World War II still rages unabated. Risking her life at every turn, she has used a video camera to compile a unique visual and oral history as evidence of what has happened. One hundred thousand of the one million inhabitants of this Caucasian republic have died, along with tens of thousands of Russian soldiers and Chechen underground fighters. Meanwhile, the rest of the world averts its eyes. As John Le Carré has written about this film, "Moscow and Washington agree on this: that State terrorism is legitimate as long as it masquerades as the war on terror; and that the common enemy is the truth. These extraordinarily brave and resourceful women beg to differ. Their record, smuggled from the depths of hell at great risk, accuses the West as loudly as the East." Director Eric Bergkraut notes: "I have not made a film about high-level politics. Coca was conceived from the start to be about women who struggle against the destruction of bodies and souls; women who condemn violations of human rights and who hope for justice. They don't do this out of naiveté, for which Chechnya would be the place least apt, but because they can and want to do nothing else, because they are courageous, and because they do not deny themselves and their ideals, even if to do so would be easier for them and their families, and would increase their life expectancies."


Directed by Eric Bergkraut

Eric Bergkraut was born in Paris in 1957. At the age of four his family moved to Aarau, Switzerland. He studied at the Drama School of Zurich where he became noted as an actor in theater, TV, and film in Germany, Switzerland, and France, while in 1988 Bergkraut reported for newspapers and TV from all over the world. His documentary films include, Oggi siamo tutti un po' bene (Let's Be Good Just for Today), Eine Reise In Den Tod (A Journey into Death), Das Gute Leben ist nur eine Falle (The Good Life Is but a Trap), Kontinent K (Continent K.), Die 6. Klasse (6th Grade), Gesichter eines Spielers (Faces of a Gambler), and Sprenge deine Grenzen (Burst Your Limits).