1991-2000ArthouseRussiaSci-FiVladimir MaslovYevgeny Yufit

Vladimir Maslov & Yevgeny Yufit – Serebryanye golovy AKA Silver Heads (1999)

Deep in the woods, in a secret bunker, a group of scientists is working on an experiment to crossbreed a human with a tree. In this low-tech science fiction film, experiments aimed to produce a better, purer human being appear as strange allusions to the films of David Cronenberg, with virtuality and cerebral dimension replaced by pure physicality. Machines stripped of any glamour and reduced to mere function resemble medieval torture chambers powered by electricity. With dark humor and raw visual aesthetic, Silver Heads is a major work from the Saint Petersburg underground art scene.

“In a forest bunker a bunch of scientists conduct experiments on themselves and one another “to replace human cells with a synthesis of human and wood molecules,” for “this will solve the problem of uniting Man and Nature and lead to their merging into one ecologically ideal essence.” Makes sense to me; but the trouble is that the resultant wood/people are killer robots that “reproduce” by making the humans with whom they come into contact “like themselves.” Why is there always a catch!
Written and directed by Vladimir Maslov and Yevgeny Yufit, Serebryanye golovy is an elegant parody of Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi cinema in particular but also the whole science-fiction movie genre. It’s hilarious.
The transformative machine that mixes up those molecules is a box into which the subject enters naked; he takes a seat and is bombarded by electric current and wooden spikes that stab him. This parody of crucifixion takes aim at Tarkovsky’s obsessive Christianity. When the lead scientist who is the initial subject groans horribly at all this, his colleague orders, “Cut off the sound!” She thus turns the film briefly from sound to silent.
Before checking into the box, the lead scientist thus explains his self-selection: “Science has always demanded self-sacrifice”—another indication of a martyr-complex.
There are, out in Nature, a lot of water and a lot of sky, and the wood/people can be amiably regressive, playing at a quasi-Greek group game that crosses tag and leap-frog: another mutation!
Frequent Sokurov cinematographer Aleksandr Burov assists the filmmakers in creating a gorgeous film, but the shots have been beautifully conceived in the first place.
Science, as usual, pursues idealistic dreams with little thought of more immediate, practical consequences. Once again, scientists epitomize their species. And are out of shape.”
Dennis Grunes

1.21GB | 1h 22mn | 762×572 | mkv



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