Handbook (2021)
Pavel Mozhar

How do you go about crushing a protest? Handbook provides a comprehensive answer to this question. It includes almost everything, except no actual beatings take place in this instruction video. It’s August 2020. While in Minsk protests are mounting against Lukashenko’s re-election, Pavel Mozhar follows the developments in his homeland from his room in Berlin. Over these few days, around 7,000 protesters were arrested by the notorious OMON riot police.

Mozhar studied hundreds of witness statements on the internet and discovered there was a systemic approach to the oppression. He transforms his room into a studio where he stages re-enactments of witness testimonies by a “police officer” wearing black clothes and a balaclava, and four “detainees” dressed identically in shirts and jeans. The result is distressingly instructive.

Pavel Mozhar was born in 1987 in Minsk and has lived in and around Berlin since the age of ten. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Economics at the University of Bayreuth (2009-2012). In 2015 he started his Master’s degree in Directing at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, majoring in documentary forms. Mozhar’s most recent work is Handbook, a short documentary about the protests in Belarus in August 2020.