The Hymns of Muscovy is one of the most visually enchanting experiences I have ever had. The atmospheric score adds a further depth to the journey. I am utterly mesmerised, and keep asking myself what did I just watch? An audio-visual poetry on Moscow, a likely sequel short to Space Odyssey, open-sky exploration or a dream pop day-dream, or a combination of all?
THE HYMNS OF MUSCOVY an experimental short by Russian artist filmmaker Dimitri Venkov is a knockout. His ploy is so simple, but the end result is dazzling! I vaguely remember seeing the same kind of ploy used for a few seconds in Wong Kar Wai's Happy Together. The sky seems like an oceanic abyss. Fourteen hypnotic minutes of otherworldly magnificence! It deserves to be watched on the biggest IMAX screen available.
I thought I'd hate it: it's essentially the view from when I lived in Moscow and drove around it, something very familiar, but flipped 180 degrees. However, I think it allowed me to see my city from a completely different perspective, and admire it anew, despite all the contradictions. This is a true accomplishment, and a beautiful work of art.
Space is the place, clouds are the cumulus, architecture is the construct. Sofa king cool. "I chose 3 distinct periods: the exuberant Socialist Classicism aka Stalinist Empire, the austere and brutal Soviet Modernism, and the contemporary mishmash. This reflects the evolution of the country’s ideology [and] contains something intangible from each period—its spirit, its frozen music." - Venkov, Mubi Notebook
I love the director’s introduction; he totally nails his desire to make architecture as mesmerizing and monumental on film as it is when experiencing a city from the ground. Chicago calls you, Mr Venkov. Please consider making it the next in a series of cities around the world.
I absolutely agree that on it's own terms, it knocks architectural aesthetics out of the ball park. I think it also is wondering what fresh hell is this? It chose Moscow as its upside-down palette, whereas it could have chosen many a corrupt world metropolis at this moment. Beauty and the beast.
Who would know that merely turning the camera upside down one could enter the realm of science fiction, the realm of fantasy? who would know that by simply filming the quotidian and ubiquitous, one could find a world of strangeness and mystery? In its own way, perhaps a love poem to the architecture of Moscow, but also a deep exploration of space in daily life. Fascinating!