Paulina lives and works in a small hotel in the northern town near the border. She and her friend Nadia dream of a different, paradise and exotic world. The girls almost do not leave the empty hotel and live, performing their strange daily rituals in the hope that someday it will lead them to a miracle. Once a stranger arrives at the hotel.

Moscow-born filmmaker Zhenia Kazankina explores the absurd in RIO. Strangely set between a hotel-drama and coming of age story, employees Paulina and Nadia use this deserted hotel as a playground for their antics. From synchronised dancing by the poolside to articulating themselves through sparring and made up languages, there is an undoubtable camaraderie between the two. Kazankina catches these characters in a state of limbo. Within close proximity to the Finnish-Russian border, the nature of their friendship shifts once a mysterious guest stays longer than they deem normal.

Zhenia Kazankina “For me, reality does not exist in a one form, for me reality is a huge number of dimensions constantly interspersed with each other, such a kaleidoscope of vibrations, a palimpsest. And I believe that if we want to capture these dimensions of reality, we just need to dream. So I believe that dreaming is not a way to cope with reality, but a way to understand and feel reality.”



Liza Yankovskaya

Dasha Mureeva

Stephen Ochsner

Written & Directed by — Zhenia Kazankina

Cinematographer – Luda Kuropiatnikova

Production Designer – Alyona Nebroeva

Costume Designer – Goar Igitian

Executive Producer – Dasha Dikarkina

Sound Recordist – Olga Lopina

Sound Designer & Re-recording Mixer — Pavel Ambarnov

Composer — Monika Mia