Viktor Turin’s ‘Turksib’ (1928), which depicts Stalinist Russia’s improbable efforts to build a railway through one of the most inhospitable deserts in the world, is one of the most breathtaking documentaries ever shot: here it is embellished with a stunning live score from Bronnt Industries Kapital (UK), replete with pastoral solo psaltery melodies, Central Asian-style drones, graceful ensemble pieces and propulsive drum rhythms . This project is appearing everywhere from international film festivals to independent arts spaces.
Directed by Viktor Turin and prepared for an English audience by John Grierson, this captivating timepiece allows us to witness the technological world we’ve built on nature’s shoulders: it is also a priceless artifact of cinema history, giving us unparalleled insight into the daunting technical and artistic creativity undertaken in the name of Soviet Communism.
With their live soundtrack, electro-acoustic act Bronnt Industries Kapital (led by Guy Bartell) tap into the weird and wonderful emotions and intellectual political dilemmas thrown up by this incredible film. Pastoral solo psaltery melodies, Central Asian-style drones, graceful ensemble pieces, and propulsive drum rhythms combine to trace Turksib’s dizzying transit. The moving images take on a hypnotic resonance.
The film and specially commissioned score is the centrepiece of The Soviet Influence: From Turksib to Nightmail, a collection of films looking at the influence of Soviet propaganda on British filmmaking curated by the BFI and out now on DVD.
Tour dates for October / November to be announced soon