24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Katyusha: Rocket Launchers, Folk Songs, and Ethnographic Refrains
What is the effect of an overheard melody, especially when it sounds almost painfully familiar? In a house full of personal photographs and to the sound of a barrel-organ melody, the film’s director explores the history of her family, which was forced to flee from the Soviet Union before the Second World War. This experimental anthropological film is a mediation on the shared experience of song and the phenomenon of memories associated with popular melodies. As if fired from the eponymous rocket launcher, the artificial folk song Katyusha soared through civilizational skies to become the soundtrack of more than a few human tragedies.
“Conflating years of research, archival digging, and excerpts from familial, institutional, and other collections, Katyusha is an experimental documentary that ruminates on the circulation and constructions of cultural memory and national(ist) narratives.”
Artist and filmmaker Kandis Friesen (1978) lives in Montreal. Her projects often combine numerous forms of art, usually with a focus on audiovisual recordings of public or personal memories. As with Katyusha (2015), she often works with collage and reconfiguration. Most of her audiovisual works have the nature of a video installation that could be shown in a gallery just as well as in a movie theater.
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