(this is the original synopsis of Kvadrat from 2011-04)
A feature-length documentary film, exploring the profession of a techno DJ, using the example of Andrey Pushkarev, a Russian DJ recognized worldwide.
Filmed as a hybrid between a fiction road-movie and a music video, the film stands-out by its multi-layered and realistic approach.
On one hand, the film shows the unique atmosphere of a techno club party, with its festive, communal and uplifting experience of music and joy. On the other hand, the film shows the creative work of a DJ that remains unseen by the club-goers. A glamorous 2-hour gig in a club or on the radio is preceded by the not-so-glamorous weeks and years of musical selection, tiring air-travel and loneliness in unfamiliar countries.
The imagery tracks along deep techno music specially mixed for the film by DJ Andrey Pushkarev, as well as real dialogues with club-workers and the public.
As with any profession, the job of a DJ includes both positive and negative aspects. In contrast to the existing documentary films about electronic music and its creators, our film explores the pros as well as the cons.
The film contains several parallel plot lines, happening in different countries:
The rhythmic dance floors of night clubs (France, Germany, Romania, Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Russia, Ukraine, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil) alternate with monotonous travel. The club’s darkness swaps for the day’s sunlight, a hindrance to recoup some sleep after a night’s work. The roar of speakers deafens the silence of urban apartments. The airport crowds disappear in the solitude of look-alike hotels. European megacities replace Russian hinterlands. And again, planes and subways. Trains and taxies.
An exclusive peek at the backstage of the techno music industry: weeks of creative research for a couple of hours of playing in a night club. Beauty of a filtered mix and mountains of mediocre tracks. Idealistic love for the music… and tedious negotiations with the club promoters.
The film omits the typical documentary elements: no interviews, no explanatory voice-over, no facts, no figures. The visuals and the techno music replace them, leaving the detailed interpretation to the viewer.
Despite its international facade, the dichotomy of Russian culture runs through the film: the reckless joy of celebration coexists with the sad yearning for the Ideal.
The film also proves that Russia is not only Moscow and Saint Petersburg. That talented, hardworking artists appear spontaneously in other parts of this huge country. The shots of the DJ’s hometown – Votkinsk, near Izhevsk – sullen beauty, quiet might and silent calm of the Pre-Ural region, depict the mood and atmosphere of the dub techno music played by Andrey Pushkarev.
The film highlights the discrepancy between the stereotypical image of a musician and the sober reality, suggests to think a little deeper, to find out whether the artist is happy, to ponder, “what is most important to him and his audience?”
Should we consider the DJ as an entertainer of a drunken night crowd or as a guide to a complex world of non-commercial electronic music? Does the DJ transfer his musical vision to his listeners or does he merely stimulate the weekend dancers? Should we deem constant travel as exciting, enviable trips abroad or as exhausting ordeals, emptying body and soul? Rejoice over new friends and colleagues or lament the emptiness of restaurant conversations? Enjoy learning new languages or stumble upon the language barrier? Savor the constant movement or grieve the lack of home, permanence and peace? Rave about the progress of computer technologies in the music industry or mourn the gradual disappearance of vinyl records?
The film leaves these questions unanswered, the scenes roll into infinity. As in a multi-hour techno mix set, the tracks flow from one into the other, so that the viewer could form his own opinion about the profession of a DJ and the work of Andrey Pushkarev.
(standard durations of a DJ set in the techno music industry)
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