Under Electric Clouds
Russia 2017. The world could be on the verge of a great war. People are anxious that things could fall apart. Evolving around an unfinished building, a diverse group of outsiders struggle to find their place in this rapidly changing society, making up the mosaic of existence that is life itself…
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★★★★ review by Arsaib Gilbert on Letterboxd
The vignette storytelling structure continues to be an ideal method for directors attempting to capture the soul and spirit of a place, a people, a nation, or the world itself. In narrative filmmaking, it provides them the means to create more characters, and thus more dramatic situations, in order to engender a variety of themes and topics required to accomplish the task. This method has its risks: due to the multitude of focal points, often times not enough attention gets paid on the micro level, which negatively affects the overarching concept(s).
To one degree or another, recent Russian films such as Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s 4 (2005), Aleksei Balabanov’s Cargo 200 (2007), and Vasili Sigarev’s Living (2012) have employed this technique to comment on that diverse and disparate nation, one permanently torn between Asia and Europe and perpetually suspended between its past and its future. Even though Aleksei German Jr.’s poetic and absorbing new film, Under Electric Clouds (Pod Elektricheskimi Oblakami), is primarily set in the post-apocalyptic “future” (2017, to be exact, the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution), it very much attempts to articulate the spiritual and existential malaise afflicting contemporary society.
★★★½ review by Filipe Furtado on Letterboxd
Midway through German Jr’s film, one of the characters tries to remember a melody to a Brazilian song and his experience mirrors mine as far as this is the sort of Russian fiction that feels so removed from my experience that I always take a huge effort to find its wavelength. That said, German’s eye is great, the film has a lot of inventiveness and the worl of hurt it carries on its shoulders is deeply felt.
★★★★ review by Scout Tafoya on Letterboxd
We'll never need sequels as long as actual movies with a proper understanding of the world are still getting made. The thing I love most about this movie is that it's plainly meant to be some version of the future, but there's no difference in human behavior even though social progress seems to have completely come to a halt. It's a world of pirates and robots, but it's still just here, now.
★★★★½ review by Martin Jensen on Letterboxd
This is how the world ends: not in the clean apocalypse we fantasise about, but in half-finished sky-scrapers in the middle of the wilderness, monuments sinking into the mud, wandering aimlessly through endless fog, clinging to the past; slow, painful entropy.
★★★★ review by gooz on Letterboxd
Remove a few lively sarcasm and it will be a very fine Russian Mountains May Depart. Heavy atmosphere, lost values and a kind of film that leaves certain nosthalgia behind. A nice surprise.
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