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CH, DE 2009, 92 min., OmeU, Director: Vadim Jendreyko

Considered one of the most important translators of Russian literature into German, Svetlana Geier was a charismatic figure with a troubled destiny that united many of the contradictions of the 20th century. Her life's work is the new translation of Dostoevsky's five great novels, which she herself called her "five elephants". She found an apt comparison for the problems of transferring literary texts from one language and cultural context to another:

Tschechische Botschaft in Berlin
Tschechische Botschaft in Berlin © visitBerlin, Foto Scholvien

"For translation, the idea of transportation is not a sufficient metaphor. It is not transportation because the luggage never arrives."

As a young woman, Svetlana Geier worked as an interpreter for a German company in occupied Kiev, left Ukraine with the German troops in 1943, and never returned there for the rest of her life. She studied in Germany, started a family and began to translate Russian literature into German. Towards the end of her life, Svetlana Geier returned to the unvisitable places of her history. The film interweaves Svetlana Geier's life story with her literary work and traces the mystery of this tirelessly active woman.

The documentary is presented by the Cultural Department of the Swiss Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Goethe Institut Berlin at the end of the Long Night of European Literary Translation, a project of EUNIC Berlin in the framework of the Czech EU Presidency.

CH, DE 2009, 92 min., OmeU, Director: Vadim Jendreyko

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