Owen Matthews: The Spectator

Dau is not so much a film as a document of a mass human experiment. The result is dark, brilliant and profoundly disturbing.

For three years up to 400 people, only one a professional actor, lived for months at a time on a city-sized set specially built for the shoot near Kharkov, Ukraine. Modelled on the real Kharkov Institute of Experimental Physics between 1938 and 1968, every detail on the set was scrupulously in period, from the light fittings to the lavatory paper. The participants — who included a real-life Nobel Prize winner and famous orchestra conductor as well as real former KGB and prison officers — were required to live in role 24 hours a day, eating Soviet food, wearing Soviet underwear and undergoing Soviet-style total surveillance. Hidden microphones were in every room, and the installation was supervised by its own secret police. …Read More

Pictured: A document of a mass human experiment that is moving, revolting, violent and extraordinarily pornographic