Marina Razbezhkina is one of the most respected documentary makers in Russia. Her directorial voice is unmistakable: her ability to look at the life of a person from up close to reveal the essence of everyday life, and also to see it in the grand and enchanting. Students and graduates of her Moscow School of Documentary Film and Theatre, create films around the world that are screened at international festivals.


Optical Axis is not a biographical film. Instead, it ‘re-take’ seven of Dmitriev’s photographs taken between 1891 and 1913 around Nizhny Novogorod. The relationship between Razbezhkina and Dmitriev’s perspective is one of intimacy. Razbezhnika poses modern subjects, including strippers, cabaret singers and bankers, often at the original site of Dmitriev’s photographs. It is a film as much about Razhbenkina’s contemporary take, as about Dmitriev and his work.

Marina Razbezhkina was born in Kazan in 1948. She graduated in Literary Studies from Kazan University and first worked as a teacher and journalist.  In 1989 she began to produce documentaries based on her own scripts. Forty of her films have been screened at festivals all over the world. In 2004 she directed her feature film Harvest Time which received multiple awards including the FIPRESCI Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2004. Her second feature film, The Hollow, premiered in 2007. For the past seven years, Marina Razbezhkina has been head of the Moscow School of Documentary Film and Documentary Theatre, which she cofounded with Mikhail Ugarov. She has been a member of the European Film Academy since 2005 and is also a member of the Russian Academy of Cinema Arts Nika.