Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Under Electric Clouds 2015

Pod elektricheskimi oblakami

Directed by Alexey German Jr

In the near future a cast of unrelated characters come together in the ghostly shadow of an unfinished skyscraper on a desolate Russian plain. “A ravishingly shot, thought-provoking triumph.” —Screendaily

Poland/Russia/Ukraine In Russian with English subtitles
138 minutes CinemaScope/DCP
M (adult themes)

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Sergey Antonov
,
Egor Olesov
,
Dariusz Jablonski

Photography

Evgeniy Privin
,
Sergey Mikhal’chuk

Editor

Sergey Ivanov

Production designer

Elena Okopnaia

Music

Andrew Surotdinov

With

Louis Franck (Petr)
,
Merab Ninidze (Nikolai)
,
Chulpan Khamatova (Valya)
,
Anastasia Melnikova (Irina)
,
Ramil Salahutdinov (Kostya)
,
Piotr Gasowski (Uncle Borya)
,
Karim Pakachakov (Karim)
,
Victoria Korotkova (Alexandra)
,
Victor Bugakov (Danya)
,
Konstantin Zeliger (Marat)
,
Dmitry Vozdvizhensky (Gleb)

Festivals

Berlin 2015

Elsewhere

On a desolate Russian plain in the near future, an unfinished skyscraper lurks like a ghost in the mist. The developer has died, the architect has killed himself, and a disparate collection of characters – immigrant workers, heirs, academics, gangsters, drug addicts – have to deal with the fallout. Alexey German Jr’s brilliantly novelistic film hops discreetly backwards and forwards in time (as does, on one memorable occasion, one of its characters), unfolding as a series of short stories with their own casts of characters. These are finally brought together in the final two chapters to provide a rich, complex, hesitant conclusion. Along the way there’s a marvellously throwaway use of science-fiction tropes – the future is never as exciting as we expect it will be – and subtle exploration of the theme of human connectivity. The film methodically documents the many ways that the ties that bind us can be shattered in an instant, but in every chapter we’re made aware of characters and gestures that draw away from social entropy.

German’s father’s final film, the psychedelically grotesque Hard to Be a God, was one of the talking points of last year’s NZIFF, and now is your chance to discover the much more classical virtues of German Jr, a rare director who still makes art films on a grand scale, in the tradition of Tarkovsky, Angelopoulos or Kurosawa. The world of Under Electric Clouds is a cavalcade of wastelands populated with surreally unlikely objects, explored in long, elegant tracking shots, the characters weaving through them navigating their individual crises. — AL