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Inventaris van het Moederland
According to Susan Sontag, photographers are moralists or researchers and collectors. Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, a student of Mendeleev in Chemistry and a pioneer in colour photography, clearly falls into the second camp. From 1904 onwards the photographer travelled around the Russian Empire, between 1909 and 1916 systematically exploring it with his camera – equipped by Nicholas II with a rail-road car dark-room, steamer, motor boat and even a Ford. Ben van Lieshout’s film follows in the tracks of the photographs taken at that time and becomes a sensual, indeed a meditative experience, borne along by the noises, sounds and songs which northwest Russia boasts in all its post-industrial authenticity. A convincing contrast between two media – the photos created with the three-colour technique, on the one hand, and a cinematic stroll in a classic documentary film format, on the other. These ‘views’ are peacefully still and experimental, an invitation to linger, to look, to reflect.
Ben van Lieshout
Ben van Lieshout, born in the Netherlands 1951, is an independent, award-winning director, producer and screenwriter. He directed short and experimental films, feature films and several documentary films. These include The Zone (1999), Night at the Mall (2001), Trip to Paradise (2002) and Petersburg Places and Paintings (2004), a visual documentary about the work of young Russian-Dutch painter Tatyana Yassievich. He has also been a jury member in a number of international film festivals and is a lecturer at the Utrecht School of the Arts.