An anonymous drug dealer drifts through Moscow’s sleepy neighborhoods and back streets in Ekaterina Selenkina's feature-length debut. The world premiere took place as part of the Venice 2021 International Critics' Week.
An almost wordless docufiction in the manner of James Benning’s slow cinema, Detours is in many ways a film about the friction between real and virtual spaces. Meticulously constructed and at the same time neutral master shots, taken by cinematographer Alexey Kurbatov on 16mm film, are put in contrast with the protagonist’s purely subjective digital presence via the fragments of his self-destroying messages and the search of new points for hiding stashes of drugs in interactive online maps. Detours is characterized by the same attention to the everyday and bodies in the landscape as Selenkina’s short Storge (2017) about a daughter caring for her mother with Alzheimer's, shot in the Moscow suburbs. But unlike Storge, here, the protagonist’s relationships with his mother, girlfriend, and brother are portrayed in dotted lines before gradually dissolving completely in the chorus of other voices.
Selenkina offers a psychogeographic drift through the periphery of a metropolis imbued with signs of power, anonymity, and invisible control systems, from which one cannot hide even in the virtual space. At the same time, however, the director shows how residents take over the city: kids jumping on the roofs of garages, teens wandering around abandoned buildings, and the protagonist himself experiencing Moscow as a huge platform for an extremely dangerous and risky game.
Dir. Ekaterina Selenkina
Russia, Netherlands, 2021. 73 min.