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Civil Status

The ladies of the civil registry office in St. Petersburg have the strange fortune to be privy to people’s most personal moments. From marriages to divorces and from births to deaths these women see it all and usually all in one day. In this antiseptic windowless bureau, staffed with dead-pan female clerks (all married as per office rules) we witness young brides enthusiastically pledging forever, grieving widows looking for closure, mothers with screaming babies and nervous couples ready to call it quits. Shot it black and white this whimsical, yet profound film looks like something out of the 1960’s, but the emotion present – from infuriated husbands demanding a divorce to intimate whispers form a wife swearing she wasn’t unfaithful – is timeless. Ultimately, the rigid structure of bereaucracy governs all these human moments where missed signatures, improper forms and incorrect filing disrupt people’s lives. "It’s like a theater in here," one of the over-worked clerks comments, "every minute something happens."

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Previous screenings

2006
Oberhausen International Short Film Festival
4 May – 9 May | Oberhausen, Germany
International Short Film Festival in Drama
17 Sep – 23 Sep | Drama, Greece
Uppsala International Short Film Festival
23 Oct – 29 Oct | Uppsala, Sweden
8 Nov – 12 Nov | Winterthur, Switzerland

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 20 Jan 2008