The kind of idea that, if made by a film student, would be derided as pretentious. But when a serious filmmaker does it, it's art. I think the description is wrong though; it's not still pictures rather film images pretending to be still pictures. Kind of a zen experience.
People of Russian countryside through an old lens that depicts melancholy and perhaps submissiveness to the camera. This takes me back to an absurd film which tries to find Trotsky's birthplace (somewhere in Ukraine now), the filmmaker never finds the house but randomly meets an old couple in the middle of nowhere who remembered vaguely Trotsky's father. Let's rethink the portrait in the selfie-bombarded times.
Different take on ethnology. Initially I had a hard time trying to focus and was scared by the prospect of spending half an hour watching this, but ultimately it worked. The're old old, grim and distant and you're really surprised when you realize the movie was made in 2002 and not in thirties.
Portraits infused with time. People and place unified by their appearance on a common screen; by the unbroken ambient soundscape; by the wind... Deleuze says: Through movement, the Whole is divided into objects, & objects are reunited in the Whole, with the Whole being Pure Ceaseless Becoming. Can we be so elevated through breath? Through wind? Loznitsa sure makes it feel that way. Quietly, affectingly profound. 3.75
'Serene, I fold my hands and wait, Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea, I rave no more 'gainst time or fate, For lo! my own shall come to me. ...What matter if I stand alone? I wait with joy the coming years, My heart shall reap where it hath sown, And garner up its fruit of tears...' BURROUGHS
Picture: an instant captured in eternal stillness or many consecutive instants recorded in running film?Loznitsa places his subjects still in front of his camera, but nobody can tell the wind not to blow their clothes, the eyes not inevitably blink the dry wind away,the unruly dog to sit motionless,the old hand not to tremble. Uninvited movement slips into, blowing life to a seemingly unmoving but everchanging world.
I found this jarring. I felt guilty in my relatively physically comfortable, contemporary, somewhat cosmopolitan life... that I could scarcely relate to these people, who are really not so far away from me on this planet. And yes, time has effectively stopped for them, but still...
Still and calm, with movement in the sound track but not the people. Looks like it was made in 1902 not 2002, the land that time forgot. Slow progression through the seasons, it's quite a relief when we reach summer, with the flowers, birds and warmth. Winter looks pretty bleak, I had to go and get a hot cup of tea in sympathy.