These two documentary movies are re-enactments of important historical and political moments – on the one hand the trial of the Ceaușescus, on the other hand a ‘show trial’ about Pussy Riot. To stage these trials, Milo Rau uses the techniques used in political theater.


Documentary Film about the homonymous theatre project

In the summer of 2012, when the punk activists of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in a penal colony for their performance in the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the world reacted with widespread protest rallies. Yet this was only the latest episode in a ten-year series of show trials of artists and dissidents, staged by Putin’s system to prevent any form of democratic change.

Rau thematises this issue by drawing on the techniques of political theatre: from March 1 to 3, 2013, a courtroom was set up at the Moscow Sakharov Center to provide a stage for a three-day show trial that pitted the different sides of the cultural war waged in Russia against each other. Yet the people on stage were no professional thespians but real-life actors: artists, politicians, church leaders, real lawyers and a real judge. A jury composed of seven Moscow citizens finally handed down their sentence – an acquittal, albeit by a narrow margin, for the artists.

The 3-day-trial, stormed by the Russian authorities and by units of the cosacks, led to an international scandal and a travel ban against the director Milo Rau. The film The Moscow Trials documents the project and illuminates the historical and political backgrounds.

2014, DE, 86 min
Russian with English subtitles

Documentary Film about the homonymous theatre project

The images of the condemnation and execution of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena on Christmas Day in 1989 are etched deeply in the collective unconscious of several generations of television viewers. Exactly 20 years after its occurrence, the famous show trial was re-enacted in a historically reproduced setting. The film interweaves the stage production with interviews conducted with eyewitnesses and archive material, and takes a look backstage in the Odeon Theatre in Bucharest.

2010, CH/DE/RO, 72 min 
Romanian with English subtitles


In cooperation with his International Institute of Political Murder (IIPM), Swiss director Milo Rau creates films and theatre plays in which art, history and politics are interwoven. CAMPO and arts centre Vooruit have joined forces to introduce you to Rau’s politically charged oeuvre through two performances, Breivik’s Statement and The Civil Wars, and two films, The Last Days of The Ceausescus and The Moscow Trials. In the meantime, Milo Rau is working hard on a new CAMPO production set to premiere in May 2016. For the first time, he works with a cast completely made up of children in front of an adult audience.