Video Artist: Eléonore de Montesquiou
Video Genre: Country: Year: Duration: 15 min 0 sec


Olga is in her fifties. She has both Estonian and Russian passports, she speaks only Russian. She was born in Narva (now Estonia) and lives in Ivangorod (now Russia), two cities facing each other on either side of the river. Olga speaks about herself as a woman of Perestroika. In this film she talks about going through these times with two children. She raises the issue of living on the very edge of Europe and tells about her relationship to work then and today. Olga used to work in a factory that closed in the mid-eighties. More than a personal portrait, in this film, her voice speaks for numerous women of her generation, living in between the former Eastern-Soviet States and Russia, imagining day to day solutions to survive in this precarious and constantly changing status.

I filmed Olga and her friend, another Olga, bathing in the border river Narva. Their bodies reflect the strength that they have needed till now. These images are b&w in order to link them to the archive images.

Sound: monolog by Olga, a woman with both Russian and Estonian passports, making a living by crossing the border daily. Olga was born in the fifties in the Soviet city of Narva-Ivangorod now split between Estonia and Russia.

Music: composed by Tanja Kozlova (Estonian contemporary composer, who was born on the Russian side of the border and lives now in Tallinn)


Eléonore de Montesquiou

Eléonore de Montesquiou (born in 1970 in Paris, France) is a French-Estonian artist.

Eléonore de Montesquiou’s work revolves around the articulation between private and official histories, personal and national identities. It tackles the intricacies and ambiguities of living in the margins, based on her personal experience of up rootedness. Eléonore is primarily working with video, she tapes testimonies, creating prosthetic memories of repressed histories. In her documentary-informed works, her camera becomes the voice of these voiceless people. Her work is based on a documentary approach, translated in films, drawings and texts; it deals mainly with issues of integration/immigration/meaning of a nation in Estonia, giving voice to the Russian community. A few years ago, she started working with asylum seekers from French speaking countries in Estonia.