Oz Asia Festival – 2016 – Under Electric Clouds – Aleksey German – The Mercury Cinema4K

By Tom Eckert


Aleksey German’s Under Electric Clouds is a sprawling narrative deeply metaphorical and richly referential to the long cultural and political history of Russia it is an intimate examination of the Russian condition on a grand scale.

This two-and-a-half hour epic follows the stories of seven characters seemingly unrelated but proven to be united by a single element in the end. A failed building project of a gargantuan tower abandoned as a mere central framework after its oligarch of an owner passes away, leaving adult children to inherit his fortune and six other individuals profoundly impacted by the fallout, a fallout that could be considered a representation of a failed economic drive and the resultant collapse both morally and fiscally.

Set in 2017, notably 100 years after the Communist lead Russian Revolution, the world is suggested to be on the brink of another cataclysmic war and so life takes on a different quality.

German’s settings are exquisite with vast expanses implied with seemingly endless plains of snow and monolithic industrial ruins, the scenes are made to feel isolate and almost claustrophobic by the ever present ceiling of impenetrable muted clouds and an imposing mist leaving the main course of the action in vignetted contrast with the background. The environments themselves are deeply symbolic with a recurrent setting that ultimately brings the disparate threads together being an abandoned field full or decaying statues of Russia’s past; of Lenin and Stalin and other leaders of the revolution. Another places a Ph.D museum tour guide in full Hussar dress in conflict with the mechanical diggers of the forces of redevelopment in an effort to save the historical site that his life’s work is dedicated to.
German’s palette is consistent throughout with prominent concrete and neutral browns and blacks grey, these are often dusted with light pinks and contrasted with fluorescent glare.

Under Electric Skies pits the proud and unique stoic romanticism of Russia’s history against the forces for progress, capitalism and political corruption.

Kryztoff rating 4K


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