Kvadrat (film)

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Kvadrat
On a background composed of 3 images, first of silhouettes of people dancing in a night-club with a DJ wearing headphones, second a man reclining in a train compartment bunk, third a night view from outside a car, are laid over a white square with the title of the film "Kvadrat" and immediately below "a documentary about the realities of techno DJing". An address to the film’s official web site "kvadratmovie.com is shown at the bottom left corner.
One-sheet film poster
Directed by Anatoly Ivanov
Produced by Yury Rysev
Anatoly Ivanov
Written by Anatoly Ivanov
Starring Andrey Pushkarev
(as himself)
Music by various artists
Cinematography Anatoly Ivanov
Edited by Anatoly Ivanov
Release date
  • October 17, 2013 (2013-10-17)
Running time
107 minutes
Country
  • France
  • Russia
Language English, Russian
Budget EUR 100 000[1]

Kvadrat is a 2013 documentary feature film written, co-produced, and directed by Anatoly Ivanov. The film explores the realities of techno DJing,[2] using the example of Russian DJ Andrey Pushkarev. Filmed as a hybrid between a road-movie and a music video, Kvadrat not only illustrates the festive atmosphere of techno night clubs, but also reveals the lesser known side of this profession.[3] Shot in Switzerland, France, Hungary, Romania and Russia, the film omits the typical documentary elements: no interviews, no explanatory voice-over, no facts, no figures. It gives priority to abundantly sounding techno music, leaving the detailed interpretation to the viewer.[4]

Cinematically, Kvadrat is of note for its distinctive color photography, intricate sound design, attention to details and lack of traditional dramatic structure,[5] achieved on a very low budget.

Plot[edit]

DJ Andrey Pushkarev wakes up in his Moscow apartment, packs his vinyl records into a rolling bag and leaves for Domodedovo airport, to fly to Zurich. Upon arriving, he is greeted by the promoter of the Supermaket club. After falling asleep in the hotel, he is rudely awaken by the alarm, dresses up and leaves for the job in the middle of the night. After finishing his DJ set, he leaves the club to take the train to Geneva. While en route, instead of admiring the Alpine scenery, he sleeps.

After a short visit to a friend in Geneva (whether male or female is not shown), he takes the plane back to Moscow. He thus completes the first "story loop", repeated with slight variations throughout the entire film, a metaphor on techno music loops.

In his flat in Moscow, after quickly replying to booking requests on Skype, he goes through his huge collection of vinyl techno records to prepare his next performances. A quick shave and he leaves to take a taxi for the railway station, where he boards a train for Saint Petersburg.

Once in Saint Petersburg, he waits at a friend’s flat, while listening to tracks on Beatport. After nightfall, he is driven to Barakobamabar, where he plays a set. At dawn, his friends accompany him to the metro, one of them barely walking from too much drink. Pushkarev then takes the metro back to the train station, using a short-cut through Saint Petersburg down-town.

Back in Moscow, and back to the beginning of the story loop, he visits his friends and while drinking tea, debates his dream of playing techno during the day and bringing the techno club industry more in line with a healthy lifestyle.

After a short metro trip, he plays in a Moscow club Mir, after which he flies out to Geneva, again. There, he takes the same train as previously, looping in the other direction, to Olten via Bern. Greeted by the club promoter, he goes directly to the local club Terminus, where technical problems hamper his performance. The Technics SL-1210 turntable refuses to switch the playback speed from 45 rpm to 33 rpm. Later, a club technician bumps his elbow into the tonearm. Tired, Pushkarev takes a cab to the hotel, where he checks his in-coming booking requests on the notebook computer.

In the morning, he takes the train to Lausanne where he changes for a TGV to Paris. After a performance at the 4 Éléments bar, he continues his trip to the SWISS hub in Zurich, where he boards a flight to Budapest.

The local crew transport him from Budapest to Kecel, where he plays at the club Korona to a massive audience. Asleep in the car back to Budapest, he misses the decorated down-town and gets only a couple of hours to repack at the hotel, before leaving again for the airport, restarting the loop.

He flies back to the Zurich hub, where he changes for a flight to Bucharest.

Picked-up at the airport, he is driven to Craiova, where he plays at club Krypton without any rest.

The next day, he sleeps in the car during a huge snowstorm of 2012, one of the deadliest in Romania’s history, to arrive in Cluj-Napoca’s club Midi. He plays to an ecstatic crowd, only to wake up in the same battered BMW driving again through winter.

Finally, he arrives at the seaside, stares at the waves and the sunset and silently walks away, leaving his bag of vinyls on the beach.

Production[edit]

Because of budget restrictions, Anatoly Ivanov acted as writer, co-producer, director, cinematographer, editor, and sound engineer.[5]

Development[edit]

Anatoly Ivanov formed an idea for Kvadrat after completing an impromptu 30-minute short in Cantonese in February 2011 about a private Hong Kong martial arts event. He suggested to shoot a realistic DJing documentary to Andrey Pushkarev,[6] when the two met in the director’s Paris flat shortly afterwards.[7]

Anatoly Ivanov teamed up with Yury Rysev to privately finance the project, initially mis-calculating the total required by a factor of 5.[5] A drastic cost-cutting approach to production allowed to film the feature in 5 countries, despite the tiny budget, thanks in part for everyone on the project volunteering without any financial compensation.[8]

Locations [edit]

Kvadrat was filmed exclusively on location[9] in:

And during regular flights by SWISS and Izhavia, train journeys by SBB CFF FFS, RZD, and on public transport in Geneva’s TPG, Saint Petersburg Metro and Moscow Metro.

Cinematography[edit]

Principal photography began on August 27, 2011, ended on July 16, 2012 and lasted 55 days (if counting the days when the camera was rolling).[1]

The film was shot in the spherical 1080p HD format using a pair of Canon 1D mark IV cameras[10] and just two Canon still-photography lenses.[11]

Anatoly Ivanov was the only crew to shoot video and record sound for the film, carrying all the cinema equipment on himself.[12] He eschewed the use of dollies, cranes, jibs, steadicams, tripods, sliders and car mounts and shot Kvadrat exclusively with a handheld rig.[13] No additional lighting was used either.[5]

Editing and post-production[edit]

Editing in Final Cut Pro X,[12] post-production started immediately after the wrap of principal photography. It took 1 year in Geneva and was plagued by technical problems, such as removal of hot pixels on the footage from the cameras and inadequate computer hardware (a 2011 MacBook Pro and a pair of Sony MDR7506 headphones).[5]

Music[edit]

The film features 35 tracks[14] played by DJ Pushkarev, representing various subgenres of techno music, ranging from deep house to dub techno through minimal techno and electro:

  1. “Abyss” by Manoo – Deeply Rooted House, 2008
  2. “Direct” by Kris Wadsworth – NRK Sound Division, 2009
  3. “La Grippe (Helly Larson Remix)” by George Soliis – Wasabi, 2011
  4. “Air” by Havantepe – Styrax Leaves, 2007
  5. “Mauna Loa” by Mick Rubin – Musik Gewinnt Freunde, 2009
  6. “Soul Sounds (Freestyle Man Original Dope Remix)” by Sasse – Moodmusic, 2005
  7. “Tammer (David Duriez Remix From Da Vault)” by Phonogenic – 20:20 Vision, 2000
  8. “Track B1” by Slowhouse Two – Slowhouse Recordings, 2008
  9. “Post” by Claro Intelecto – Modern Love, 2011
  10. “Acid Face” by Scott Findley – Iron Box Music, 2003
  11. “Warriors” by Two Armadillos – Secretsundaze Music, 2007
  12. “Grand Theft Vinyl (JV Mix)” by Green Thumb vs JV – So Sound Recordings, 2004
  13. “Tobacco (Alveol Mix)” by Kiano Below Bangkok – Only Good Shit Records, 2011
  14. “When The Dark Calls” by Pop Out and Play – Alola, 2001
  15. “Circular Motion (Vivid)” by Christian Linder – Phono Elements, 2002
  16. “Blacktro (Demo 1)” by Jerome Sydenham and Joe Claussell – UK Promotions, 2007
  17. “Green Man” by Mr. Bizz – Deepindub.org, 2008
  18. “Tahiti” by Ben Rourke – Stuga Musik, 2011
  19. “Willpower” by Joshua Collins – Prolekult, 2002
  20. “Lullaby For Rastko (Herb LF Remix)” by Petkovski – Farside, 2011
  21. “Agape Dub” by Luke Hess – Modelisme Records, 2009
  22. “Glacial Valley” by Makam – Pariter, 2011
  23. “The Time” by Vizar – Jato Unit Analog, 2011
  24. “Libido” by Sean Palm and Charlie Mo – Railyard Recordings, 2008
  25. “Ahck (Jichael Mackson Remix)” by Minilogue – Wir, 2007
  26. “Altered State (Artificial Remix)” by Jason Vasilas – Tangent Beats, 2004
  27. “Modern Times (Dub Mix)” by Hatikvah – Baalsaal, 2009
  28. “That Day (Loudeast Black Label Remix)” by DJ Grobas – Thrasher Home Recordings, 2004
  29. “The Hills (John Selway Dub)” by Filippo Mancinelli and Allen May – Darkroom Dubs, 2011
  30. “Running Man” by Petar Dundov – Music Man Records, 2007
  31. “Ice” by Monolake – Imbalance Computer Music, 2000
  32. “Lucky Punch” by Peter Dildo – Trackdown Records, 2006
  33. “Live Jam 1” by Rhauder – Polymorph, 2011
  34. “Can U Hear Shapes?” by Pop Out and Play – Alola, 2001
  35. “Be No-One” by Charles Webster – Statra Recordings, 2001

Themes[edit]

Besides the obvious facade of DJ work seen in a night club, Kvadrat explores the lesser-known themes[15] of DJ travel, fatigue, sleep deprivation, self-destruction, absurdity, loneliness,[16] purpose of art and stereotypes of the artist.[5]

Genre[edit]

Anatoly Ivanov combined the genres of a road movie and a music video, creating a modern-day techno musical without much dialogue.[17] He deliberately applied the aesthetics of fiction films to non-fiction footage and removed documentary clichés in order to achieve a third category, a result between fiction and documentary genres. In other words, a documentary using fiction techniques such as exhibition, metaphors and symbolism to express ideas, provoke emotions and ask questions implicitly, instead of exposition, staged interviews and explanatory voice-over to communicate the answers explicitly.[5]

Release[edit]

The film was quietly[18] released in 720p quality on Vimeo on October 17, 2013, with English,[19] French[20] and Russian[21] subtitles, accumulating 53 000 plays (as of September 2014, not to be confused with loads). It premiered in cinema as 2K DCP during the Kommt Zusammen festival[22][23][24][25][26] in Rostock, Germany, on April 18, 2014.

Reception[edit]

The public and press were surprised by a stealthy release without any marketing campaign.[27]

The reviewers praised the aesthetic,[28] atmospheric, musical[29] and meditative qualities of the film, its realistic nature.[30] As well as the decision to forego traditional interviews[31] and adopt innovative editing.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Director Anatoly Ivanov’s article about the production details of Kvadrat February 17, 2014
  2. ^ FilmStarts.de Kvadrat
  3. ^ Pulse Radio Kvadrat Documentary Shows The Realities Of Techno DJing, January 31, 2014
  4. ^ Kvadrat original synopsis from February 2011 June 23, 2014
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Kvadrat director’s thoughts about his film 8 July 2014
  6. ^ Le Monde Blogs Un Interview d’Anatoly IVANOV | Artiste Autodidacte et Radical, par Peter Gabor, October 15, 2014
  7. ^ Музыка в «Квадрате» – Маргарита Лысенко, October 30, 2013
  8. ^ MEOKO Press Exclusive Interview with Andrey Pushkarev and Anatoly Ivanov - Silence in Music & the Kvadrat Movie, November 6, 2014
  9. ^ Kvadrat (en) - end-titles
  10. ^ Shot on What? – Kvadrat (2013)
  11. ^ Visual Imaging News Issue 2014-01, page 16
  12. ^ a b The DJ’s Journey Digital Media World, March 13, 2014
  13. ^ Kvadrat Gear – a feature documentary about the filming of Kvadrat, by Anatoly Ivanov
  14. ^ Kvadrat official track list
  15. ^ Berlin Mitte Institut Kvadrat – Film über das Jetsetting von Techno-DJs, April 8, 2014
  16. ^ Mixing.dj Kvadrat: Russian road-movie by the side of Andrey Pushkarev, October 29, 2013
  17. ^ Diffus Mag Reingeschaut, May 12, 2014
  18. ^ Kvadrat director tweet about the film October 17, 2013
  19. ^ Kvadrat (en) on Vimeo
  20. ^ Kvadrat (fr) on Vimeo
  21. ^ Kvadrat (ru) on Vimeo
  22. ^ Kommt Zusammen festival program
  23. ^ Lichtspieltheater Wundervoll cinema programming
  24. ^ StepCamera.de Die Dokumentation ‘Kvadrat’ wurde zum ‘Kommt Zusammen’-Festival in Rostock gezeigt, June 19, 2014
  25. ^ 0381 Magazin Mitternachtskino - Kvadrat
  26. ^ kinoprogramm.com Kinos aus Rostock
  27. ^ Nightparty.ru - Вышел фильм о «реалиях техно диджейства», October 17, 2013
  28. ^ Das Schöne Leben Kvadrat, russisches Road-Movie & Musik-Dokumentation über den Alltag von DJs, October 20, 2013
  29. ^ Synthtopia New Documentary Looks At The Reality Of Techno DJing, April 30, 2014
  30. ^ Mixmag «Квадрат». Фильм с участием Андрея Пушкарева, October 22, 2013
  31. ^ ALAAF and KICKIN’ review

External links[edit]