Deep in rural northern Russia, in the outskirts of a mining town, live row upon row of garages. Coming in a range of colours and conditions, these well-used buildings play a vital role in the lives of their owners. They provide an escape from everyday life. A place where they can be themselves and indulge in their hobbies. These edifices form a community hub, which is vital for the wellbeing of the denizens in such a harsh and unforgiving terrain.
In Natalija Yefimkina’s new documentary Garage People she observes the residents of this locale as they retreat to their garages to relax and escape the trials and tribulations of daily life. The (often) snowbound equivalent of the humble shed, these buildings play host to a variety of people including welders, musicians and collectors of military paraphernalia. Whether used for storage or as a secluded retreat, they play an essential role in this mini society.
Garage People is a fun and fascinating insight into the world of a band of outcasts living in a rural community. The nearby mine is always there, hovering somewhere in the background; playing an integral role in all their health, wealth and happiness. Whilst the focus is on this eclectic collection of misfits, their experiences and conversations highlight their place in the wider world. Garage People is a cutely observed portrait of life on the fringes.
Garage People screened at IDFA.