Documentary – Germany, Netherlands, Argentina, Chile / UK Premiere
Victor Kossakovsky / Germany/Netherlands/Argentina/Chile / 2011 / 104 min
As shiny, bleeping gizmos and exotic sounding WiFi Hotspots suggest that modern society relies on its gadgetry to remain connected, Victor Kossakovsky’s intimate and unassuming exploration of worldwide cultures is a powerful example of the connections between nations, despite any superficial differences. Set in four antipodes (global diametric opposites), Kossakovsky splices together eight vignettes of localised culture, exposing the similarities between places that couldn’t be further apart.
With the action jumping around the planet this sometimes feels like a compare and contrast film, however, Kossakovsky’s decision to ignore the affluence of Shanghai, choosing instead to expose its grubby and rickety underbelly highlights the resemblances between the other scenarios. Despite the choking smog of the teeming Asian metropolis, Kossakovsky focuses instead on elements that are mirrored across the globe: namely the struggle to earn a living and raise a family. Although a kind of decrepitude looms over the settings, his subjects’ jovial outlook juxtaposes the desolation of their situation, uniting their defiant but good-natured attitudes. Kossakovsky’s exquisitely hypnotic camera work seamlessly blends the scenes, using rolls, fades and tracking shots between man, beast and landscape, often using the background’s anonymity to emphasise the parallels between the settings. What Kossakovsky has created, then, is a striking reminder that despite headline dominating conflicts, there’s more connecting humanity than the rock beneath our feet.
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