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A meditative portrait of the outskirts of Moscow and Kutaisi was seen in Europe

“Bypass routes” by Ekaterina Selenkina after Venice showed in Thessaloniki

After the world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the film “Roundabouts” by Russian director Yekaterina Selenkina was shown in the Film Forward competition at the International Film Festival in Greek Thessaloniki. Since this is one of the few live, not online festivals, Catherine had the opportunity to personally present the picture.

In September, at the Week of Critics within the framework of the Venice Film Festival, to which the National Union of Film Critics of Italy delegated “Circumstances”, Ekaterina Selenkina received the prize in memory of the Italian documentary filmmaker Valentina Pedicini. Few people have seen the film in Russia, but it took part in the national competition of the International Debut Film Festival in New Holland (St. Petersburg) and was awarded the main prize of the jury.

Ekaterina Selenkina is a director and artist, curator of one of the programs of the Moscow International Festival of Experimental Cinema, a graduate of the Moscow School of New Cinema. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts, where she studied in the Film and Video Department. The “detours” are made in co-production with the Netherlands. The project was supported by the Hubert Bals Foundation, which has repeatedly provided assistance to young Russian directors (among them beginners Alexei German and Ilya Khrzhanovsky), and the Eurimage Foundation at the film festival in Les Arcs, France.

The authors describe their film as a meditative portrait of the outskirts of Moscow, permeated with the presence of invisible digital black markets. The cursor hovers over this or that object, and we, as participants in a certain game, find ourselves in unremarkable places. One urban landscape is replaced by another. The forest landscape adds some kind of diversity for a moment. Basically, we see something ordinary, but no less surprising: a mini-church in the station building, a modest apartment of an elderly woman flooded with sunlight, a deserted city beach and a riot of wildflowers near boxes of the same type of high-rise buildings. Schoolgirls hang out in the backyard of the school. Teenagers fool around in the remains of a concrete giant. An ensemble of veterans of recent wars sings the song “Forever keep faith in our love” at the monument. A lonely picket woman stands with a “No War” poster. Microplots of urban outskirts replace each other. Vigilant police officers detain the protagonist at the gate of the metal detector, make him take off his pants. At the same time, they are quite polite and the most rude thing that I allow myself is to give the command: “Take off your panties.” Flair lets the guards down.

Graffiti on the wall of a one-story building creates the illusion of a living landscape, and it seems that the peasant is collecting jars by the lake, and not in a dull city courtyard. And then the platform will shine with neon, and the train in various shades of green will produce a magical feeling. This is also Moscow, feeding on not only the boredom of the city outskirts. Scraps of phrases, voices, announcements of the sale of outerwear burst into the buzz of the city. There is a correspondence in the messenger. The drug dealer opens hiding places, and we seem to follow his trail, exploring the outskirts of the big city.

The film involves non-professional actors who were found right on the street. According to the authors, they explore the poetics of urban space, the relationship between violence and various forms of resistance, and reconstruct real events. “The film has an unusual narrative structure: sometimes we follow the hero, then we lose sight of him for a long time and just watch the city,” says Ekaterina Selenkina. – We have chosen such a form to try to reflect not only on the fate of an individual person, but also on the systems in which we exist, on the invisible connections of all things. It is incredibly sad that this film will not be seen by his talented cameraman Aleksey Kurbatov, my husband, with whom we did everything in close and warm co-authorship. ”

About ten years ago, an urban project by Wim Wenders was presented at the Venice Biennale, where the modern metropolis was “read” through modern architecture. It was also a pure experiment, where it is obvious how our consciousness is formed through the urban environment. It would seem that projects of this kind, as a tribute to pure art, are becoming a thing of the past. But now Ekaterina Selenkina went about the same way.

The Georgian-German film “What do we see when we look at the sky?” Took part in the main competition of the film festival in Thessaloniki. Georgian director and graduate of the Berlin Academy of Film and Television Alexander Koberidze, awarded a special mention by the jury. She stood out among other paintings with a frank amateur image. There was no perfect beauty in him. For two and a half hours, the viewer travels with the heroes in summer Kutaisi, and these walks reveal the spirit of the city. For Georgia, it is like a signature dish. There are a lot of such films – declarations of love for their hometown (most often for Tbilisi) in Georgia. They inherit the searches of Otar Ioseliani. In Levan Koguashvili’s “Days of the Streets”, “idlers” of all stripes, as Ioseliani once called them, also spend whole days on the street, doing the most insignificant things. And all this, due to completely inexplicable reasons, gives an unimaginable charm to the city.

Alexander Koberidze has a pharmacist girl and a football guy. Soon they will forget about their professions. By the will of fate, not heeding the mysterious signals of a traffic light and a water pipe, the heroes will wake up in a new bodily shell. And then meet in a small street cafe, not remembering their casual acquaintance. The guy will begin to lure passers-by so that they pull themselves up on a rusty horizontal bar, of course, for money. All this was invented by the enterprising owner of the cafe. The girl will make ice cream there. Microhistories of the most ordinary people are woven into the life of the old city, the streets of which resemble a backwater, but this only makes them more attractive.

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Source From: MK

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