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Russland Von Oben (Russia From Above)
Germany 2018

Opening 27 Feb 2020

Directed by: Petra Höfer, Freddie Röckenhaus
Writing credits: Petra Höfer, Freddie Röckenhaus

Russland Von Oben takes us on a journey into extremes, whereby we emerge knowing far more. For example: are you aware that eleven time zones pass through the width of Russia, or it takes the Trans-Siberian Express train one week to travel from Moscow to its eastern terminus? Or, 58% of Russia’s population lives in its northwest European portion, and St. Petersburg’s population is over 500 million? Or, why the Volga Delta is vital to the earth’s ecology? Hint – thousands of birds migrate there during summer/autumn with some flying 3,000 km (1,865 miles). Or, deep taiga forests, rivers, and mountains surround its nicest desert in Siberia, Chara Sands? Would you like to live in a modern city (160,000 residents) with an April temperature of -22.6 Celsius (-8.68 F.)? Russia’s spectacular environment incorporates volcanoes, geysers, waterfalls, the world’s longest river (Volga), deepest lake (Baikal), and Arctic tundra. Curious?

Writer-directors Petra Höfer and Freddie Röckenhaus take viewers from the Russian Riviera to indigenous Chukchi nomads setting up house to surfers in Kamchatka. We see reindeer herds, polar bears with cubs, wind-whipped racing wild horses, and camels! Benjamin Völz’s modulated Voiceover guides, accompanied by Boris Salchow’s outstanding original score performed by the Budapest Art Orchestra, as we follow Russia’s great range of breath-taking natural landforms. Drone cinematographers Andrew Efimov. Anton Elchaninov, Ivan Golubkov, Igor Volkov, plus Peter Thompson’s aerial cinematography is stunning, majestic, and at times dizzying except for Johannes Fritsche’s prudent, skillful editing. Oscar® nominated actor John Malkovich narrates the English version.

For nine months, using the best aerial cameras available and given unprecedented filming access, the cinematography team assembled footage for this spectacular documentary. Covering over 11% of inhabited regions on the Earth, the gigantic Russian Federation is magnificent; to digest everything covered in Russia From Above a second viewing could be worthwhile.  (Marinell Haegelin)

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