Yevgeny Yufit  

Unusual Russian film-maker with slow poetic elements of Sokurov and Tarkovsky but focusing on his own genre of 'Necrorealism': human progress, death, science and humanity's relationship to these, explored using experimental 'parallel cinema'. In other words, a death-obsessed Tarkovsky on various drugs making films with very little dialogue. A recurring theme is naked, intuitive, simple and childlike man enjoying nature and experiencing natural death, vs. scientific and social efforts to study, understand or interfere with the progress of man, resulting in suicide and calling into question our understanding of progress and evolution. Also made several very experimental and inscrutable shorts that look like movies from the 20s with occasional touches of slapstick. Died in 2016.

Of Some Interest

Yufit continues themes from Silver Heads, this time featuring an artist who paints insects, and who discovers evidence of scientific experiments aimed at understanding and controlling the progress of man. Specifically, what caused man to stand upright, thus moving away from a more practical and natural lifestyle and into a modern, intellectual one. The experiments attempt to recreate this effect or fuse the advantages of both. He moves into an old house with his family, is haunted by strange visions and dreams, but when his children uncover a film archive documenting the experiments, and a strange old man disturbs his peace, he loses his simple pleasures and his mind regresses into a form of insanity. While he slowly unravels the truth, experimental bipedals (naked crouched men) roam and terrorize the countryside chased by the government. By far Yufit's most conventional narrative, with odd, mildly interesting but simplistic meditations on humankind.

Killed by Lightning  
Tarkovsky-esque meditation on evolution and death as experienced by a female anthropologist while she is writing a scientific paper on her computer. Her mind wanders between strange slow images of naked older men foraging in nature like monkeys, memories of her father, pictures of ape-men, deep thoughts on evolution as a cycle of nature that doesn't really progress, the death of her father in a submarine, her father's tall tales stolen from Homer, and her fantasies about her father on an odd island of nudists, or being attacked by pirates. In the meantime, her computer misbehaves amusingly, and she is prompted to be judged by a symposium of scientists while she muses on.

Silver Heads  
A bizarre movie about scientific experimentation to improve on humankind taken to an extreme absurdity. Rogue scientists in a cabin are at the end of their rope, having created a failed species of strange forest-humans that can only constantly play in the woods naked, infecting others with their failures. They continue their experiments on themselves, attempting to fuse trees with humans by shoving wooden spikes into their bodies using a variety of odd methods, including a complicated, mechanical, wooden iron-maiden. In the meantime, soldiers are trying to track down and kill the forest creatures now led by a strange psychic who fights violent battles for them. Amidst all these highly strange happenings, we get some musings and discussions on human mutation, progress and transformation with a nonsensical mix of mysticism and science, footage of science improving on siamese twins by cutting them apart, and other strange odds and ends. Slightly intriguing, but too bizarre.


Father, Santa Claus Is Dead  
Slow and strange but completely unrewarding and impenetrable art-piece. Modern civilization is portrayed as a boy and an old man setting fatal traps in a bunker and stealing from the victims. A rational biologist goes to visit his strange relatives in the country where everyone behaves oddly and talks in one-word sentences, men in dark suits play listlessly in the forest with wooden structures, bodies of live people are wrapped, entombed or left in the bushes in strange death-like rituals, he philosophizes with his wilder, impulsive brother about searching for the unknown who then stuffs cotton in his mouth, and other such random scenes of slow meditative weirdness. Supposedly a mood piece about the effect of the death of the mythical figure of 'Father Frost' on society and different people. Uninterestingly bizarre, and as painfully slow as Tarkovsky, only without even the minimal narrative.

Wooden Room, The  
Another slow mood-piece meditation by Yufit, this one on the theme of civilization and its presumably depressing effects on man, filmed as a dialogue-free series of scenes of man in nature. A film-maker lives in an isolated cabin with his wife. They obsessively watch his footage of beavers and mostly naked men participating in various odd activities, and soon he finds himself joining their company with alienating results. They bathe each other in the water, chop wood, play with the dog, there's a man who seems to be a live corpse, his body floating in the water and carried like a prop, there's a symbolic bell buried in the ground, and there are some bizarre elaborate suicides and an accidental death followed by a strange funeral. I couldn't figure out any way to derive some insight from this other than that Yufit really dislikes civilization and society.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents