Directed by Gulya Mirzoeva • Documentary • 2017 • 55 minutes
This film - based on hitherto unreleased archives - is an account of two extraordinary human destinies, caught up in an implacable political machinery. It is also the story of an incredible scientific controversy which takes on its full significance at a time when the whole world is wondering how on Earth it can feed the people of tomorrow.
A story about two very different men: one of them, Nikolai Vavilov, was a botanical genius who travelled the world, accumulating a vast wealth of biodiversity. The other - Trofim Lyssenko - was a talented agronomist who claimed he was able to increase crop-yields through his pseudo inventions. In the burgeoning Soviet Union of the 1920s, prey to famine, they would each attempt, in their own way, to solve the problem which haunted the communist authorities: how to feed the people.
The genius would die of hunger in a Stalinist prison, the charlatan ended up as president of the academy of sciences.