Helicopters by Dmitriy Kubasov (2018)
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Helicopters by Dmitriy Kubasov (2018)

Since his childhood, Mikhail Farikh dreamt of becoming a pilot. Having served in the Soviet army, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Farikh opened his own business – and, as time went by, his dream seemed to become more and more distant. Finally, at the age of 54, he took his destiny by his own hands, purchased a helicopter, and eventually became the first Russian to fly around the world.

“Helicopters”, Dmitriy Kubasov’s latest movie, centers around this figure: a man who not only exemplifies an unflinching (perhaps even a bit antiquated) desire to fulfill his childhood dreams; but that also speaks to the universal aspiration to overcome limits and venture into unexplored territories.

At a certain point in the movie, during a break from flying in the Omsk region in Russia, Farikh interacts with a passerby and explains the reason why he is travelling. “I am flying home”, he says. This scene is crucial, as it captures the paradox of Farikh’s vicissitudes: one the one hand, the longing for the sky, for the unknown; on the other, an unconscious force that inevitably drags him home.

“Helicopters” is the final movie of the Other Zones series, the program of biweekly screening curated by Vladimir Nadein for the 2020 Russian Federation Pavilion. It was selected for its terrific photography and for the unbelievable landscapes that it unveils – literally, the entire world is the set of this film.

What is more, the camera’s bird’s-eye view gives the spectator a privileged perspective. As the movie follows the pilot in his expedition around the world, almost two thirds of the scenes depict Russian territories – a figure that gives a sense of the magnitude of the country. It is as if all the “islands of otherness” portrayed by previous films featured in the program would finally come together, under a dreamy, unifying gaze.

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