16 Oct – LFF 2015 10th day
18:00 Under Electric Clouds by Alexei German Jr.
A Russian film. 7 episodes, stories, almost independent of each other which more or less connect in the last 1.5 episodes as you discover that they live in the same moments and spaces passing one another, almost communicating to one another.
This is how the YOUTH film (by Sorrentino or whoever else had done it, even if different in aesthetic) should have been made if it was supposed to deliver more interesting lines and a more profound or interpretable, surprising plot.
A world of lost memories. While those well in touch with their past are slowly losing contact with the current irresponsible generation. The film seems to have been overwhelmed by the metaphor of immigrants and the linguistic disjunction. And that idea of “almost” meeting, “almost” understanding each other is key to this film. It emphasizes that feeling of not belonging to where you are or who you are with, but living somewhat suspended in between the past or the future, still nostalgic about either of the prospects, still anchored in it. That was the past of great ambitions and the future of (in)decisions. While watching it I couldn’t escape the feeling of Tarkovsky’s Stalker.
With dilapidated history and present falling apart around you. Similar to that one also in the way lines are delivered, almost like not really responding to each other, as quite often characters would almost be living in their own autistic universe, one in which neither their respondents nor us can make complete sense of meaning unless you take on a more .. intuitive approach to it, you respond with your feelings and dispositions, your desires and empathies rather than via rational trail of arguments. This is how things start to make sense across the scenes, the stories. This is how they collude in the end to a single complexity. It’s a Tarkovsky of more contemporary concerns.
Here dealing with a period close to Yeltsin’s rule, but at times seemingly from way further into the future. Mesmeric mix of art and references to contemporary, modern artists, to The Hermitage at some point.
Overlapping in the same idea of unknown temporality. The haunting space-time where communication is barely possible, a fact underlined by immigrants parallel communication universe, where interactions are instinctual and animalic (in one initial episode). And when one finally breaches the language barrier it does so to no material connection. It is too close to the current migrant problems in connection to the Syrian situation, the african and pan-asian as well not to notice it. The art director in the end said the reality is that Russia is a melt-pot of cultures. This sensation of impermeability of ideas between the cultural layers of this space (of which Moscow is a good example, pretty much same as London is) is very true to the idea of Asia. The geographical borderlines have little to do with the cultural ones. They seldom overlap/overcross. And the transit of identities is permanently occurring.
Been fascinated by the face of one architect – central character in a story, (played by an interesting rock singer – Louis Frank). First by the red birth marks on his face (remindful of Gorbatchev’s), then by his eyes running under the arcades almost without an upper eyelid. He looked like Mihai S.
And the space he was moving in was that of a Sochi cross Batumi, with heavy built metallic infrastructures, be it bridges across emptiness, or a Burj Al Arab type of construct – unfinished, hovering in a foggy landscape, like a ghost into a surreal present. And of course the architect reference is.. En to me, again. And the prospects of ideas. How that would fit into my own universe and living landscape. What could become of it. Left with lots of questions in the end, but a ghostly pleasurable sensuality to it, one of memories of our trip in the area, one that would open to exploration again.
21:00 Box de Florin Serban
I just came to realise it is by the same director as “If I Want to Whistle I Whistle”. Even though I had that reference in mind ever since I briefly read the synopsis. I would’ve come to see it anyway as I generally do with Romanian films in LFF. Pretty much to great afterthoughts and satisfaction after seeing each one. Same here, although I was left with little questions to shoot across. Catalin Mitulescu (one of my main reference points in the New Wave generation, as I’d been attracted to his style of film making, his stories and ideas ever since that film teacher brought his name 6 years years ago).
A simple film, yet some moments of parallel exploration of inner feelings and anxieties. In both cases. Set in Sibiu, reminded me of walking in the night with Amk and listening to the layers of domestic and street sounds,. Again a strong reference to the art world there as scenes from Three Sisters were used to reveal her character more. Thought running to the idea of getting a hold of one Andrei Serban or similar theatrologist and get my “self” sorted, explored. Intense boxing scenes remindful of Raging Bull dynamically and of Snatch in the boxing scenes.
No major conclusions in the end. A nod to Morometii with the cutting off the walnut tree. Enjoyed Sibiu mostly. And that sense of escape that city gives me. A mix of memories of summer camp, turning my world in and out around and altogether when withY at that wedding, then my recent explorations. The landscape though less present here was more like a background story-to-the-story; versions of life tracks attracted to one another in a sort of unexpected escape. That’s what it was.