Saturday, 17 October 2015

LFF REVIEW - UNDER ELECTRIC CLOUDS (ALEKSEY GERMAN)


Each scene, each moment within a scene, each dream within a sequence within a chapter within Aleksey German's Under Electric Clouds is like a microcosm of the film itself. The filmmaker son of his namesake father shares a familial interest in theme and technique, a certain distance and density of style that feels wholly idiosyncratic, and a talent for directing that produces consistently interesting work. German Jr. studies the notion of historical cycles in Under Electric Clouds, a view of the future that is nevertheless one of the past, of the future of the past and of the past of the future. Naturally, it's thus about the present, whose immortality ensures its own consistency - nothing ever truly changes in an infinite cycle. The manners by which this theme is expressed are immensely varied; this is so very dense a film that it'd take many viewings and much further analysis to identify and decipher all of them, but they range from structural to stylistic, metaphorical to overt, character-based to event-based, visual to sonic and surely more and more still. It's a funny, touching and beautiful film to experience for the first time too, and admirable in the depth of German's vision, ably supported by outstanding crew credits, including senior art director Elena Okopnaya and cinematographers Sergey Mikhalchuk and Evgeniy Privin. As an inhabitant of the present, as we all are, German presents an internal perspective on life therein, ruminating on our ignorance, our capacity for triviality and distortion of priorities, our ignorance of the fallibility of many of the notions that define our existence. He insists that we be led, shown the way as his characters are if ever we are to progress; yet Under Electric Clouds is a film not about progression but about stagnation. We can travel as far as we like along this cycle, but we'll always end up back in the present.