Sun King

Andrei B. Severny was born in Russia in 1913. According to the New York Times, he was a “leader in Soviet astronomy and an authority on the physics of the sun and the stars”. The second Andrei in this story, Mr. Tarkovsky, was born in Russia in 1932. He is remembered as one of the most influential Russian filmmakers of the history. In 1952, Andrei the astronomer won the Stalin Prize for his study of solar flares. In 1972 Andrei the filmmaker made Solaris – the same day I was born. Five years later, in 1977, the third Andrei in this story was born, also in Russia: he is Severny’s grandson. Although he had no idea at that time that he could have any kind of relation with his grandfather’s solar flares or with Tarkovsky’s Solaris, the connections are particularly close.

Andrei Severny, the photographer and filmmaker, spent most of his career in the business world. In 2004 his life changed and he moved from Moscow to New York. This prolific and talented artist who used to take pictures for the world wide renowned Moscow-based magazine Monitor, had also a prolific beginning of his new career with five short films in two years. All of them have different perspectives and tell different stories, but they share something in common: its unique defiant cinematography. Notably influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, and in some way also under the inheritance of Andrei B. Severny, this third man brings textures and moods that automatically make us travel to a new atmosphere, as if we were floating against gravity.

The audience becomes Tom, Tom becomes Andrei, and Andrei depicts a magic tale of astronomy and suspense beyond imagination, crossing limits one more time with his hidden but active camera: third eye; third Andrei. Probably Tom On Mars is his most engaging film, although the experimental way in which he tells the story of Frames, mixing a beautiful 16mm film with the digital “making of” provokes us the need to watch more. Growing and walking on the experimental path we find Ocean Whisper: reality, fiction and metaphors are melted into a very old look and feel; reminiscence of a projector from the childhood, traveling back to a melancholic present. His last but not least film, Disparait, v, are the best example of what mixed media fundamentally tries: it is not about having and mixing, but multiplying different layers. All these sensations invite us to imagine, to reflect about solitude and vanishing into the city movements, and especially to co-create.

From sun flares to other planets, and from past thoughts to present consciousness, I also feel connected to them – actually 2004 was the same year I also switched careers and moved from Buenos Aires to New York. This mystically shared experience make me believe I’m a sun king too. Little Bay Blues cries, probably because it’s not a comic anymore. The transformation is a fact, and everybody is naturally scared about the unknown; us and them. The bad thing is that the unknown is unavoidable. The good thing is that in Andrei Severny’s hands there is nothing to fear… except about ourselves.

Andrei Severny’s filmography:

Little Bay Blues (trailer)
3′, 16mm, 2004

Ocean Whisper
5′, 16mm, 2004

12′, 16mm/digital, 2005

Tom On Mars
7′, 16mm, 2005
Writer/Director and Cinematographer

Disparait, v
5′, mixed media, 2005
Writer/Director and Cinematographer
Milano Film Festival 2005, Italy (official selection)

* Picture above copyrighted by Andrei Severny


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Filed under Andrei Severny, _ Film Writings

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