A JOURNAL OF OBSERVATIONS ON NATURE AND HUMAN LABOR
  • A JOURNAL OF OBSERVATIONS ON NATURE AND HUMAN LABOR

    RUSSIA 30 MIN, 2022

    WORLD PREMIERE

    • ABOUT

      Filling out the Naturalist Diary was the responsibility of every Soviet school kid. This meditative practice was gone with the fall of the Soviet Union. It was expected to teach school children to be attentive to human labor and the slightest changes in nature over the annual cycle. This film is a poetic reflection on how the woods of the Pskov region are seen through the eyes of the two former Soviet schoolchildren who grew into hermit foresters measuring trees, sowing new ones, and looking for treasures left in the forest 200 years ago.

    • DIRECTOR

      TIMOFEI ZUBROV-ANDREEV

      Born in Pskov. Studied botany at the St. Petersburg State Agrarian University, ancient philosophy at the St. Petersburg State University, screenwriting at the St. Petersburg State Institute of Film and Television. His graduation full-length script was published in the major Russian film magazine "Art of Cinema". In 2019 received a grant to study directing at the School of New Cinema.

    • DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

      When I first had in my hands a thin little book for elementary school called "observation diary," I was impressed by the tone in it, completely lost to the modern world. For example, the diary urged me to catch a snowflake on my coat sleeve and examine its pattern. In a city where I am permanently haunted by a longing for nature, for the ground, the grass and the clear sky, this diary seemed like something long lost and forgotten, and it was this intimate intonation that I wanted to recreate in the film form. In a way, it is an anti-urban movie.

      Our film also reflects on the nature of cinema. I am sure that all cinema is about observation, documentaries in particular. And observation, in turn, is a method of research. What is extremely important to me is that research is always based on creation, which is the companion of all art.When a child observes the world he always learns, he allows the experience of nature to appear through himself. In the same way, a filmmaker must remain a child open to the world and constantly learning. After all, even a book we read with our eyes. At some point I discovered that these general considerations had a direct bearing on the theme and form of my film.

      The creation of the film was also influenced by the theory of quantum mechanics, which is engaged in the question of the Observer. The Observer "constructs" reality with his gaze, brings the world into action through observation. From these thoughts was born the film, where we observed the characters and nature, the characters observed the forest, the forest probably observed us all together, and the viewer in the cinema hall observes the result of these types of observation together.

      The form we chose is not accidental. We shot the film in opposition to canonical documentary filmmaking. No one has ever seen so many tragic or funny randomly recorded situations as now, and this is directly related to technological advances. Everyone has a cell phone camera. Any location, unique occasions and people, war, wedding, birth or funeral, with a Tik Tok you can move around and watch documentary footage for hours. It's a beautiful documentary utopia, where everyone on the planet captures their own personal stories on their own account. The value of a character or dramatic situation in film is thus devalued, as millions of unique stories are no longer surprising and freely available on the Internet.

      Much more valuable to me now is the author's perspective, the way Jean-Daniel Pollet or Val Del Omar or A. Sokurov looked at things is something I deeply admire. The future of documentary filmmaking lies in a particular way of looking at things that we are used to. It has to change a lot in the near future, to become more sophisticated, more dense, to acquire magical traits that would deny documentary itself in its usual form.

      Right now I'm working on two feature scripts, including one with political undertones and two documentaries. One has already received a grant from the Russian Union of Filmmakers.I would like to make a film about a stone as a silent witness of thousands of years of human history, inspired by the philosophical works of object-oriented ontology, my goal is to make a film about something wiser and older than humanity. The dolmens of the Caucasus, the fossils of the Lava River canyon, the rocks of Karelia, the limestone quarry in old Izborsk and the St. Petersburg granite of St. Isaac's Cathedral - these are the heroes of my future film.

      The second idea concerns my home in the village of Dulovka, which I recently lost. The idea is inspired by "The Poetics of Space" by G. Bachelard.

    • SECTION

      DOKer 2022 — Short Competition