From GQ, Michael Idov visits the cult-like set of the Ukrainian film Dau — an enclosed bubble where thousands of actors have been living the lives of their characters 24 hours a day, ever since production began in 2006, using Soviet passports and money, in a world that is exactly as things were in the 1950s, while their real lives recede into the past:
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Five years ago, a relatively unknown (and unhinged) director began one of the wildest experiments in film history. Armed with total creative control, he invaded a Ukrainian city, marshaled a cast of thousands and thousands, and constructed a totalitarian society in which the cameras are always rolling and the actors never go home.
The rumors started seeping out of Ukraine about three years ago: A young Russian film director has holed up on the outskirts of Kharkov, a town of 1.4 million in the country’s east, making…something.