Moment of Impact

Director: Julia Loktev
Screenwriters: Julia Loktev

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


On April Fool’s Day in 1989, the filmmaker’s father, a Russian emigré, was struck by a car as he ambled between garage sales in the suburbs of Loveland, Colorado. Catapulted initially into a near-comatose state, he became irrevocably suspended between life and death, an infantilized shell of his former vibrant and independent self.

Part personal odyssey, part expressionistic homage, Moment of Impact is a first-person documentary of peerless craft and emotional force. Wrought with loving detail and vital purpose, the film painstakingly etches the crash’s repercussions: the day-to-day travails of home care and the acute individual burdens borne by family members. The crash ended the computer-programmer careers of both the filmmaker’s father and her mother, Larisa, who now cares full time for a man who has become her husband in name only.

With her agile manipulation of the camera, the filmmaker steals inside her father’s isolation, pleading for signs of a higher consciousness. Under the weight of playing nursemaid to her husband and psychological case study to her daughter, Larisa erupts. However, with an elastic spirit she manages to maintain her sanity and sense of humor, defiantly grasping opportunities for self-gratification. In the film’s moving conclusion, Larisa implores her daughter to do what her own circumstances have precluded: realize the fullness of her life rather than devote herself to sustaining another’s half-life.
Poetic, honest, and unapologetically intense, Moment of Impact depicts one family’s dignified resilience in face of their unyielding tragedy.

Julia Loktev, Director
Born in 1969 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Julia Loktev emigrated with her family to Loveland, Colorado, in 1979. She comes to film from a background in radio art. Her radio works have been broadcast and featured in media art festivals internationally, including at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and on New American Radio and the Australian and Canadian Broadcasting Companies. Loktev studied at McGill University and the NYU Graduate Film Program. She lives under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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