30 min. Japanese.
Citizens of the Cosmos is based on the manifesto of Biocosmism, written by Alexander Svyatogor in 1922. Shot on locations in Tokyo and Kyiv, in collaboration with a group of amateur actors, volunteers, and extras, the film presents an imagined community voicing the historical desires of Russian Cosmism – immortality, resurrection of the dead, and interplanetarism – all set in everyday life in contemporary Japan. Using urban shrines, cemeteries, a crematorium, tatami rooms, a bamboo forest, an industrial gas plant, and city streets as an open air stage, the film gradually narrates the text of the biocosmist manifesto while presenting a sequence of dream-like tableaus, featuring rejuvenation through blood transfusion, funerary processions and demonstrations, the Danse Macabre, the cremation bone picking ceremony (骨上げ), attempts to communicate with the dead using stethoscopes, and a theremin orchestra recital, among other scenes. Set to an original music score composed by Alva Noto, Citizens of the Cosmos is an experiment in defamiliarization: a speculative test of the universality implicit in Cosmism’s premise when projected outside of the sphere of Russian language, geography, tradition, and culture.
Production Koichiro Osaka, Mariko Mikami, Lyuba Knorozok. Production companies Asakusa (Tokio, Japan), Mariko Mikami (Tokio, Japan), Lyuba Knorozok (Kiew, Ukraine). Written and directed by Anton Vidokle. Cinematography Ayman Nahle. Editing Adam Khalil, Meggie Schneider. Music Alva Noto. Sound Eli Cohn. With Rie Sakai, Akiyoshi Nita, Takaaki Negi.
Anton Vidokle, born in 1965 in Moscow, Russia, is an artist and editor of e-flux journal. He lives in New York and Berlin. His work has been exhibited internationally at museums, art institutions, and biennials and screened at film festivals.
Anton Vidokle: 2002: Salto de Agua. 2003: Nuevo. 2010: Guiding Light (with Liam Gillick, 21 min.), New York Conversations (64 min.). 2012: Two Suns (with Hu Fang, 24 min.). 2014: 2084: A Science Fiction Show/Episode 1 (with Pelin Tan, 68 min.), This Is Cosmos (31 min., Forum Expanded 2015). 2015: A Museum of Immortality (26 min.), The Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun (33 min., Forum Expanded 2016). 2017: Immortality for All: a film trilogy on Russian Cosmism, (96 min.). 2019: A I O U, Citizens of the Cosmos (30 min.).
Photo: © Anton Vidokle