The new film “Detochki” (Kids) opens at the gate of the Dandelion Children’s Home in an unknown provincial town. Inside, the town’s rich and powerful are bedding (or getting ready to bed) the home’s very young charges when a knife flies into one of their throats. Soon, seven pedophiles have been stabbed to death by a group of kids from a local children’s home.
With that shocking start, “Detochki” grabs the viewer and doesn’t let go, as the murderous children, dressed in black hoodies with knives hidden up their sleeves, face up against the city’s corrupt and heinous citizens and, the viewer knows, Russia’s too.
The film, directed by Dmitry Astrakhan, has sparked huge controversy since it opened Apr. 3, even though it’s only showing at a few cinemas in Moscow. Some critics say it’s dangerous and advocates vigilante justice.
In response to the problem of staggering bureaucracy throughout executive, legal, and judicial power, Russian film makers came forward with Detochki (2013). The stories told by this Russian movie could have happened in any part of the world. In a society, where adults have “forgotten” their obligations toward the vulnerable (small children, victims of sexual assault), the children became the carriers of change. They are the ones killing the criminals who previously got punished with impunity by the corrupt system. Examples abound, if the traditional ways of fighting crimes do not bring criminals to justice, other means are sought and found by the children. In a world that has no trust in legislation, police or government, where victims of sexual assault are no longer protected from those who raped them, either because of the right of the rapist to “initiate proceedings in family court” or because of the rapists’ been simultaneously the crime investigators, the children are the only ones who are not afraid to fight for justice. Similarly to Kids (1995) (and not only because the main characters in both movies are children), Detochki (2013) is a wakeup call and the beginning of revolution. It stands for revolt on the part of the thinking public, the public who for one reason or another, wants to act, but has to restrain its actions, because of the desire to maintain some kind of order within the society.