Above The Lake

This is an attempt to penetrate info poetic world of russian poet Alexander Blok (1880-1921) using cinematographic means of that time. A film was shot at Ozerki (near St.Petersburg)-his beloved place. Being poetical and philosophical reflection of a perception of Blok's poetry, the film at the same time renders an atmosphere of legendary "Silver Age" of russian poetry.

A poor consumptive poet dreams about a meeting with the muse, but it is already impossible for him. Being immersed in mystical catalepsy, he sees her as though in reality.

The film was shot as a mute version in 1995. In 2006, composer Sergey Oskolkov created music specifically for the film and accompanied the film during the demonstration as a live performer.

Composer Sergei Oskolkov performs the music he wrote for the film "Above the Lake"

Author: 

Year: 

1995 to 2006

Country: 

Russia
Technical data

Original format: 

35mm

Speed: 

24FPS

Aspect ratio: 

1.37:1

Colour: 

B&W

Sound: 

Sound

Length: 

10 minutes

References: 

Silent film that seems to have been shot at least 90 years ago and is a brilliantly made style exercise with a nineteenth-century theme of the tormented poet (possibly Alexandr Blok?), who sees the object of his desire loom up in an opium-inspired dream.(Rotterdam Film Festival).

  "Ten-minute work, a black and white image, an "aged" camera. "This is an experiment, let's say, in the search for visual media that existed at the beginning of the century," Dmitry Frolov himself says about his work. "Above the Lake" is a deliberate stylization for the film productions that were filmed in the early 20th century, with a characteristic flair of mysticism, mystery, understatement, and duality. Dividing here is manifested as a visual, the most elementary level - for example, intraframe editing of scenes with "The Beautiful Lady" or the double of the protagonist - the lyric poet-contemplator.
   From the very beginning, the tone is set by dedication to Blok ("In memory of Alexander Blok"). And in the future the viewer understands that the whole work - a kind of homage, which, taking the shape of elegant stylization, throughout the entire film remains performed on a filigree level. Therefore, it seems to us that the question of a clear delineation of these two concepts is not so fundamental, as the goal set by the director is achieved and is clearly presented to the viewer.
Interestingly, in his analysis of the "Stranger" by Alexander Blok, the explorer Tolmachev, emphasizing the color in Blok's poem, speaks of the contrast between black and red in the text, but Frolov deliberately avoids this contrast and chooses a black and white image for himself Way, otherwise placing significant accents, "erasing" the corners.
   "Mysterial-erotic experiments", which Tolmachev notes in the text "Strangers", finds a very precise expression in the film, in the episode with interframe editing - at the moment when the "imposition" of the image of the poet and the naked woman occurs. The naked girl as a phantom - the motif of the low-key desires of the lyric hero, the scabrous remarks Tolmachev interprets in this way, turn out to be surprisingly accurate, although only at the level of discrimination of the shades that are hardly concretized are transferred to the screen.
   The researcher notes the following: "A friend is the only one" - the designation of loneliness: the drinker is alone with himself and with alcohol, that is, in silence, gets drunk; Also the introduction of the theme of duality, "reflection", the immersion of the "bacchant" in oneself "; Frolov also uses this method, showing either a waiter or a servant, but on the whole there is no satisfactory interpretation for the named hero. But if you treat "drinking buddy" as a double - the picture is built. He is a double, all the key characters of the character structure that is characteristic of the decadence movie are evident: the hero is a double - a beautiful lady.
The motif of eroticism - female nudity - sexual desire is one of the key, not only for sketching "Above the Lake", but also for Frolov's work as a whole.
The "reflected" reality of Blok - and also of Frolov - the blurring of borders. The theme of the duality, there is no border between sleep and reality, the camera is aged, there is no clear image, there is no focus, it seems to slip through the events shown, as would be removed in the 10s of the 20th century, when cinema as art just got to its feet.
   In "Above the Lake" we see the "outskirts" of St. Petersburg - then not St. Petersburg at all. Currently - the area of ​​St. Petersburg, but in the early 20th century - a separate world, where they came to stupefy wine and forget themselves in the arms of easily accessible women. In general, the motive of St. Petersburg as a dark city with a lot of evil power can be consistently traced in the creativity of the director, this motif evolves along with the creative method. There are heroes of "Clownery" and "Above the Lake", in "Way" it is also there. Petersburg acts as a separate hero of films, always different." Ksenya Ilyina

Distribution/sales: 

6-th Russian Film Festival Literature and Cinema, Gatchina, Russia, February, 2000;
3-th International Independent Film Festival, St.Petersburg, Russia, November, 2000;
"St.Petersburg 2000" Art Biennale, "Manage", Central Exhibition Hall, Russia, January, 2001;
30-th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands, January, 2001;
9-th International "Festival of Festivals", St.Petersburg, Russia, June, 2001;
11-th International Film Festival Of Slavonic And Orthodox People "Golden Knight", Russia, Ryazan, May, 2002;
4-th International Film Festival Bratislava, Slovak Republic, November-December, 2002;
"Enthusiasm!" Festival of Russian Language and Culture in Germany, Berlin, February, 2003;
Tampere 33-th International Short Film Festival, Finland, March, 2003;
The Festival of the modern art "A Recoil", St-Petersburg, Russia, April 2005;
20th Europalia Festival, Mons, Belgium, autumn of 2005;
X International Festival of Arts "Sergey Oskolkov and his friends", St-Petersburg, Peterhof, Oranienbaum, Russia, June 2006;
9-th International Independent Film Festival, St.Petersburg, Russia, November, 2006; 16-th Experimental Cinema Week, Madrid, Spain, November, 2006;
3-rd International Festival of Audio-visual Arts "VIDEOLOGIA", Volgograd, December 2006;
5-th Pune International Film Festival, India, January, 2007;
11-th Sergey Kurehina's SKIF international festival, St.Petersburg, April, 2007

Videos: 

Composer Sergei Oskolkov performs the music he wrote for the film "Above the Lake":

Image Gallery: 

Above the Lake (Dmitri Frolov, 1995-2006)
Above the Lake (Dmitri Frolov, 1995-2006)

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