(Ukraine 2019; Dir: Oleksiy Radynski)

Facade Color: Blue

The rhythm of capitalism

review by Valentina Smirnova

Facade Color: Blue

year of production: 2019

country of production: Ukraine

director: Oleksiy Radynski

festivals: 65th Int. Short Film Festival Oberhausen

© images: Facade Color: Blue (Oleksiy Radynski)

A construction site. Piles, scaffolds, workers and machines. Monotonous noises of work. An old man, the architect Florian Jurjew, in his raincoat and beret, looks through a large window at the scenery, observing what is happening. He looks at the construction site from one of his own buildings, built in 1971. The inhabitants of the city affectionately call this building "Flying Saucer", since the heart of the building resembles the well-known pictures of Ufos. During the construction Yuriev was told by the construction workers that it was impossible to build such a building that it would collapse. He managed it anyway. Now he is only there as an observer. A shopping centre is to grow out of the pit next door. The UFO will become a part of the mall without Yuryev's consent: it will bite into his creation, destroy it.

Oleksiy Radynski tells in his film about the life of a building and its creator and at the same time takes a tour through the world of the modern social and economic situation in Ukraine. The story unfolds against the background of the ongoing construction work, which becomes the leitmotif of the entire film. In fact, as viewers*, we do not see any act of a new architectural creation.

Instead, the camera shows us - next to the construction site in question - only how Yuryev's work is taken apart piece by piece for commercial purposes. In addition, discussions with politicians provide an insight into the way in which the new intends to deal with the old: preferably not at all. Yuriyev takes the floor in fearlessly in wood-panelled meeting rooms and in the end can only wonder what crude ideas the bureaucrats have and how the investors' understanding of architecture ends with the determination of the facade colour.

The director contrasts this with Florian Yuriev's workshop, which is a portal to a carefully thought-out, almost magical world of colours and tones. In his studio, Florian Yuriev gives insights into his synaesthetic concept, in which he compares architecture with music that cannot exist without rhythm. According to his theory, every building should have a rhythm like every musical composition. At the same time, his Opus Magnum is robbed of its intended rhythm by dismantling and smashing it.

"Do we go forwards or backwards?" - asks Florian Yuryev his audience, ironically rhetorically meaning the question in the face of the circumstances. He is a sad symbol of blind progress who is not interested in the desire to make the impossible possible and to make the beautiful sensually experienceable. What remains is a lack of understanding and indignation at the overwhelming, unreservedly furious capitalism in which the façade of the "UFO" will end up being blue, simply because blue is the donor's favourite colour.