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ELECTRO MOSCOW

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by Elena Tikhonova and Dominik Spritzendorfer

grade: 7.5

In Electro Moscow, the two directors, perfectly in line with what they wanted to stage, opted for an unconventional directorial approach, where the absolute protagonists are – as one can well imagine – sounds and colours, past and present, which alternate with frenetic rhythms, leaving the audience no time to catch their breath between one scene and the next.

Let the music play!

Fast, sparkling, magnetic. Wonderfully electric. Electro Moscow – directed by Elena Tikhonova and Dominik Spritzendorfer – already premiered at the Diagonale 2013 and, following the cancellation of the Diagonale 2020, included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished – The Unfinished – is an interesting journey through the history of the last century and, specifically, the history of Russia and the birth of electronic music, in parallel with the new technological discoveries and surveillance activities carried out by the KGB itself.

And so, with sparkling music and a montage that alternates between archive footage and modern-day interviews and footage, Electro Moscow gradually takes on the colours of a documentary with numerous references to science fiction cinema. It is not simply an exposition of facts. It is, in fact, about giving life to something totally new and innovative, due to the infinite possibilities of declining the film language.

Slowly, then, we see all the stages that led to the creation of new instruments capable of creating sounds never heard before, from the now famous theremin – invented, in fact, by Leon Theremin – to the more modern synthesisers of the 1980s. Not forgetting, of course, the parallel activities of the KGB and, above all, the progress achieved in the scientific field with consequent expeditions into space.

Inside dark cellars are countless unused instruments. These are the favourite haunts of collectors of all ages, who, in front of the camera of Elena Tikhonova and Dominik Spritzendorfer, tell the story of an era. An era where, often, strict prohibitions and extreme restrictions on personal freedom even went so far as to forbid listening to or, in any case, playing Western music, such as that of the Rolling Stones or Deep Purple.

The two directors, for their part, perfectly in line with what they wanted to stage, have opted for an unconventional directorial approach, where the absolute protagonists are – as one can well imagine – sounds and colours, past and present, which alternate with frenetic rhythms, leaving the audience no time to catch their breath between one scene and the next. And such singular mise-en-scene turns out, in this case, to be particularly appropriate. Electro Moscow is a film that flows like a sip of cool water. A journey into a world of which we have only occasionally heard, but which, in fact, we have never had the opportunity to explore sufficiently.

This is the world from which director Elena Tikhonova comes and which, in this very personal Electro Moscow, she wanted to celebrate together with her colleague Dominik Spritzendorfer. A true love declaration to a land that through past difficulties has created something unique and wonderful.

Original title: Elektro Moskva
Directed by: Elena Tikhonova, Dominik Spritzendorfer
Country/year: Austria / 2013
Running time: 89’
Genre: documentary, musical
Screenplay: Elena Tikhonova, Dominik Spritzendorfer
Cinematography: Dominik Spritzendorfer
Produced by: Rotor Film

Info: the page of Electro Moscow on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Electro Moscow on iMDb; the website of Electro Moscow