Tikhonova & Spritzendorfer: Elektro Moskva

Another film that premieres in Nyon (April 25 & 26) (see below), and another film that has been a long time on its way. And another film that gave high expectations that for me who has followed the film from the side, are (almost) satisfied.

Was it one of the Rolling Stones who said that ”my bass guitar gave me a reason for living”? Almost the same says Russian artist Richarda Norvila (= Benzo), one of the protagonist of the film, when he talks about his work:

”I arrive at the studio, turn on the equipment, I hear sounds and turns knobs, therefore I am…”, and he is also the one who intelligently makes the focus of the film clear, by saying: ”Let’s assume that phenomenon of Russian life is, as said Lenin, inexhaustible, as the electron, then the nature of the native Soviet synthesizers also have this quality. They translate some kind of profound lifeline, the beginning of which was laid by the great October Revolution…”.

Yes, Benzo and other contemporaries like Aleksey Iljinikh, who finds, buys, repairs and sells the synthesizers to artists like Benzo, are for me the most interesting to watch in action. When music is composed in a studio with Benzo, AND when Dominik Spritzendorfer dares to let go the image side of the film in amazing sequences where the music playfully interprets, or maybe better to say – where the image is adding to the sound to stress the quality of the latter.

The overall theme that the electrification of the Russian and Soviet society, in a belief in the future for the communism, should benefit all citizens, but failed completely, making all inventions serve the military more than the people are conveyed, with wonderful archive interviews with Theremin from 1993, introducing the space adventure as well – in other words the historical part of the film is well made but a bit monotounos and heavy in tone so the flow and the pleasure in watching the film pop up when we leave the past and go to the musicians of today with very free, almost psychedelic sequences. It is the classical dilemma of how much information is needed to give to the audience, and how much you need as background info. Nevertheless, the film is multi-faceted and quite an achievement and deserves a long and good life.

Austria, 2013, 89 mins.






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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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