New East Digital Archive

Shot entirely in Crimea in 2015, this sophisticated new music video by Alexey Kurbatov and Alexander Pavlov, filmmakers from the Moscow School of New Cinema, is our short film of the month. Three years after the release of the original track Young Waves by the mysterious and reticent Curd Lake from Siberia, this film not only inherits the Russian chillwave band’s impeccable vintage aesthetics, but also gives the song a new twist, making it a powerful audiovisual, but also political, statement.

In conversation, Kurbatov reveals that the political aspect came in almost unintentionally, and that he would not like the audience to interpret it as being primarily about Soviet nostalgia and the situation in Ukraine. “Initially, we just wanted to use home video aesthetics to tell a story of the simple enjoyment of nature and the world around, showing how a person documents, naively, what seems interesting — from a flock of seagulls to a beam of light. Yet we did not want it to become something shallow and sweet, a romantic dream instead of real life with all its controversies,” says Kurbatov.

And their approach seems to have worked quite brilliantly. Naïve and honest to an extreme, the film demonstrates the profound beauty of the mundane. But it does more than that. Using 8-mm Kodak film, the filmmakers have produced an emotional and controversial picture of Crimean timelessness that is full of transhistorical wormholes. The video blends late-Soviet romanticism with the ominous foreshadowing of a future that has already arrived. Military helicopters encroach upon Crimea’s tourist paradise with its kefir and caramel cream, exposing its paradoxical, inconvenient and godforsaken reality.

Text: Anatoly Reshetnikov

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