Listen to podcast: Kitchen Conversations with Vladlena Sandu.

For the 42nd episode of the Kitchen Conversations podcast, host Patrycja Rozwora travelled to Amsterdam to meet and speak with the charismatic director and screenwriter – Vladlena Sandu.

Vladlena’s identity is a complicated matter and thus plays a big part in her audiovisual work. The artist was born in 1982 in Crimea to a Ukrainian father and a Chechen mother. At the age of six she moved to the city of Grozny and lived there during Russia’s war in Chechnya. After a couple of years, living under a constant threat caused by the military invasion, Vladlena’s mother and grandmother decided to move to Russia and thus became displaced people in a land that didn’t acknowledge the war in their home. (Similar to what is now being propagated by the Russian Federation calling the war in Ukraine, a ‘special military operation’). 

Despite her feeling of alienation in Russia, Vladlena found a way to finish an art education and understood that the only way she can speak the truth about what has happened to her and her ancestors is through film.

On the podcast you can hear Vladlena speak about two of her documentary works: “Holy God” from 2016 and a more recent short film, “No Nation Without Culture”. Both works speak about the complex history of the Chechen Republic dating back to the 1940s, through the lens of her mother, grandmother and her family’s city, Grozny. The listeners of the podcast will also get an insight on contemporary life in Russia and how the censorship and invigilation shifted over the past decades, particularly affecting artists, activists and intellectuals wanting to speak the truth about the political situation inside the country.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full scale war in Ukraine, Vladlena has lived in Amsterdam and is producing new works, including a theatre project and a debut fiction film.   

You can listen to the podcast on the following streaming platforms:

About The Author


Artist and writer. Studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Critical Studies Department at the Sandberg Institute. Her ongoing research relates the post-Soviet countries. In 2020, she launched a podcast series called ‘Kitchen Conversations.’

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