Architecton: Armed concrete

English Daily #1
Architecton (Victor Kossakovsky, Germany/France/USA, 2024), Yerevan Premiere, 9-7 17:30 House of Cinema Grand Hall

2018 saw the release of documentary filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky's Aquarela, a grand canvas, where the main character was water in its most diverse physical forms — from giant icebergs to turquoise waves. With the impressively sensual and even meditative shots, made in difficult conditions, Kossakovsky was hinting at what could happen to our planet when those icebergs melt, merging solid water with the liquid. His latest film, Architecton, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale in February 2024, concerns yet another natural resource: rock. At Berlinale, the director mentioned that at first he wanted to make a film with more of a comedic tone about the empty metropolises and skyscrapers in the era of COVID-19, but after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine he changed the perspective and focused on the destructive nature of human beings, the rubble left behind and the idea of ​​how we destroy that same stone, which we use to create.

Just as in Aquarela and Gunda (2020), about the eponymous pig and other inhabitants of an animal farm, the fragile relationship between humans and nature is at the forefront here. Amidst the slow, hypnotic visuals and the clattering and deafening sounds of clashing stones, there is a central character: Italian architect Michele De Lucchi. Aided by two builders, he builds a stone circle in the garden of his own house carefully and without haste. Neither rain, nor snow can stop them, as if they’re fulfilling some holistic mission, a mysterious circle he has to complete before time runs out.

Without elaborating, he informs us that after he steps into the circle, only his animals can come in, but no humans are allowed. Against the background of various stones and dilapidated buildings, it seems that men are not only at the epicenter of destruction, but also in an endless cycle, like machines that collect and transport concrete rubble, which are mechanically emptied and filled again with seemingly endless debris. People destroy and build, then build and destroy our own creations again, while animals contemplate nature and the natural, entering an incomprehensible realm, where our entry is forbidden for now.

Diana Martirosyan