The Woman with the 5 Elephants

The Film

About the charismatic translator Swetlana Geier. Her new translations of Dostoyevsky's five great novels from Russian into German are her life's work and literary milestones.

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December 09, 2021


Vadim Jendreyko's timeless film THE WOMAN WITH THE 5 ELEPHANTS will be shown as a matinée screening at kult.kino Basel on 12th of December 2021 at 10.00 a.m. on the occasion of the double exhibition 200 Years of Dostoevsky & Russian Icons. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director and translator Gabrielle de Groër, moderated by Nadine Reinert, director of the Philosophicum Basel.

«This was one of the most movingly beautiful films I have ever seen» – WIFV-DC.

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«One has to read Dostoyevsky like a treasure-seeker: Jewels are buried in the most inconspicuous places and are often only to be discovered at a second or third reading. He is inexhaustible.»

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Director's Note

«It is a theme that I do not explicitly search for in my work but one which I repeatedly come upon, one behind which the question of my own identity is concealed: Who am I?”»

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«Her translation work, the work on and with languages was for her an existential-, a life expression and not just any work and for her there was no alternative. She had no other home than the home in the language, in the language itself and the languages she worked with. »

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«On the occasion of the 10th day of Swetlana Geier's death, the director thinks back.»

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Swetlana Geier

Anna Götte

Hannelore Hagen

Jürgen Klodt

Written and directed by

Vadim Jendreyko

Director of photography

Niels Bolbrinker

Stéphane Kuthy


Patrick Becker


Gisela Castronari-Jaensch

Production manager

Thiemo Hehl


Florian Beck

Original music

Daniel Almada

Martin Iannaccone

Production Switzerland

Mira Film GmbH

Hercli Bundi, Vadim Jendreyko

Production Germany

Filmtank GmbH

Thomas Tielsch


ZDF/3sat, Redaktion: Inge Classen

Schweizer Fernsehen, Redaktion: Urs Augstburger und Marion Bornschier

With financial support of

MFG Baden Württemberg

Bundesamt für Kultur

Fachausschuss Audiovision und Multimedia der Kantone Basel-Stadt und Basel-Landschaft

Volkart Stiftung

S. Fischer Stiftung

Stiftung Edith Maryon

Robert Bosch Stiftung

Ernst Göhner Stiftung

UBS Kulturstiftung

Migros Kulturprozent

Focal Stagepool

Developed with the support of the

MEDIA Programme of the European Community