The Woman With Five Elephants
The Woman With Five Elephants

The Woman With Five Elephants

Director Vadim Jendreyko

Production year 2009

Length 93min.

Country Germany/Switzerland


Documentary portrait of 86-year-old Svetlana Geier, who has dedicated her life to translating Russian literature into German. In the last twenty years she has concentrated on the five great novels, “The Five Elephants” of Dostoevsky. The film juxtaposes Geier's meticulous intellectual effort – which she carries out with several retired friends – with her everyday activities in and around the house: peeling apples, making tea and receiving her children and grandchildren. When she is invited to be a guest lecturer in Kiev, she returns to her natal homeland for the first time in 56 years.


DEFA Sponsoring Prize "for an outstanding German documentary film" | DOK Leipzig, Germany, 2009

SRG SSR idée Suisse Prize, Prize of Suissimage and of the Society of Swiss Writers SSA, Special mention from the Interreligious Jury | Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland, 2009

Audience Award for the Best Documentary Film | Bozner Filmtage, Italy, 2010

Best Documentary | Quartz 2010 - Swiss Film Award, Switzerland, 2010

Alpe Adria Cinema Award to the Best Documentary Film, Audience Award for the Best Documentary Film | Trieste FF, Italy, 2010


Vadim Jendreyko
Vadim Jendreyko



Vadim Jendreyko, Hercli Bundi, Thomas Tielsch, Inge Classen, Marion Bornschier, Urs Augstburger


Vadim Jendreyko

Director of Photography

Niels Bolbrinker, Stéphane Kuthy

Production designer

Niels Bolbrinker, Stéphane Kuthy

Music by

Daniel Almada, Martín Iannaccone


Patrick Becker, Florian Beck


Gisela Castronari


Svetlana Geier, Anna Götte, Hannelore Hagen, Jürgen Klodt, Johannes Geier, Sofiya Mikhaylova, Fyodor Mikhaylov

Production company(ies)

Mira Film GmbH, Filmtank GmbH

Vadim Jendreyko

Born 1965, Bremen, Germany. Grew up in Switzerland. He attended grammar school, the Basel School of Applied Art and the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He completed his first film in 1986. In 2002, he and Hercli Bundi founded Mira Film GmbH, where he works as producer and co-producer. He is the father of two children and lives in Basel.


Exiltibeter zwischen zwei Kulturen (1986), Der Koffer (1989), Auf dem Weg durchs Exil (1994/97), Bashkim (2002), Transit: Zurich Airport – An Insight into a Closed Zone (2003), Performance at the Limit (2004), The Woman with Five Elephants (2009)

FILMS 2010