Sergey Bratkov
Unfunny Jokes / Towels / Bottles

Video / Commissioned work


3 episodes
In Russian (with English and German subtitles)

Paranoia TV

Production specifics
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’20

In his new short films, Sergey Bratkov pushes the limits of dark humor and exaggerated irony—of which there is plenty in today’s Moscow. Not that there is much to laugh about. High COVID-19 case numbers are accompanied by draconian measures and drastic changes in the political structure. The jingoism of the mass media has reached such absurd levels that it is no longer funny but just evokes disgust. Can humor still offer a way out? Bratkov shows that it can. In Unfunny Jokes, he recounts dark, politically incorrect, albeit strangely witty anecdotes circulating online and offline. In Towels, he takes on the role of an infomercial presenter to promote patriotic terry cloth towels, targeting the crazy, self-destructive chauvinism of recent years. In Bottles, he sets off into early morning Moscow in search of empties from the previous evening left on trees and bushes as sad decoration. Thus Bratkov moves between absurd laughter and deepest melancholy, not without compassion for himself and his contemporaries.

Camera: Tatiana Makovskaya