Rambler's Top100

"Above The Lake"

Russia, 1995(silent), 2006(music), 35 mm, 10 min.

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Director Dmitri Frolov

Music: Sergey Oskolkov

Cast: Peter Kremis, Natalya Sourkova, Romil Rachev

      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 is made with the original music, written and performed by Sergey Oskolkov.


      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).

The cinema reflected in a lake.

      Rumours about cinematograph's death, unfortunately, are confirmed. And its profound age casts sad thoughts over reliable men: about hopeless venerable age of the once pert and hopeful youth and possible ways of this distinguished vet's reanimation.
      Filmdirector Dmitri Frolov whose cinema will be talked about didn't evade search of an elexir of life too. His film is called Near the Lake and appeals, first of all, to intuiti-vepoetical flair of a spectator. Lifeelixir's search, of course, are something since earliest times and they ben't fraught with an heroism or a vile act, if only they will not turn into search of Satanic (Titanic) elexir. But it seems D.Frolov etudes that last. He takes the liberty of screening a one of splendidly sounding verse of Alexandr Blok. Anyway that's something. A few of men from so called Parallel Movies make the classics on screen with that trepidation and delicacy like Frolov. This fundamental condition makes for Frolov's cinema as act of nobility, but nobility is rarity now. Therefore, Frolov's film, certainly, attracts our attention for even if that reason.
      Nobody knows Dmitrii Frolovii exclude the close circle of devoted connoisseurs in various countries. And he has a reputation of man which can give rise to something valuable with a minimum of the material and technical basis and among narrow space of plane screen. This rare, besides, ability he splendidly demonstrates with Near the Lake. This film is, as a matter of fact, an alloy of a farce, selfparody, gloomy humour and, if it is of any interest to you, acting.
      Actor's play has there comic absurd realization. Actors, like the puppets without leader, try to play, as if, learnt-by-heart roles but can't and helplessly die like flies on a window. Felicitas per extractionem pedum... Frolov don't allow in this ideal cinemaworld some theatre. He ruthlessly stops the attempts of personages to come to life, to be incarnated. But they have only role- to be a ghost, translucent phantom from the imagination of the lone poet which is sitting among a windy (but in gloomy absolute silence, because the film is in dumb aesthetics of old age of cinematograph) weather. But what is a ghost if isn't dream? And dream isn't cinema of man's mind? Therefore, Frolov made a screen version of a dream about cinematograph. And he forced this dream to reflect in the lake which is literally Blok's (at film "play" the lake literally descriptioned by Aleksandr Blok).
      May be, of course, the author didn't elude some small little insignificant flaws. But the matter of the experiment (practically scientific) justifies it.
      Frolov's call is: forget how and shoot. Firstly it sounds like a mad joke: what?! forget the notes and play music? Yes, said Frolov, absolutely yes. But yes if you feel that a technical equipment prevents you. Frolov offers us to return to things its old essence: to make a technical equipment spiritual but not to make a poetry technological. Come on, come on, come on, come on baby now... Perhaps, it's very good.

Boris Ewsseew ( Translated into English from Russian by Ignaz Bobtschuk )