Vladimir Kobrin: A Retrospective (Part 2)

Part two: Metamorphosis

This part includes films made after the global changes that have taken place in our society. Kobrin actively used computer graphics, which increased visual pressure and enriched the bestiary of his cinema. The processes of transformation and deformation play a big part in this films, and their aesthetic connects Kobrin with the tradition of video art.


1991 | Russia | 15 min | 35mm

At the center of the film is a man in a monkey mask inhabiting various anthropogenic spaces, such as a zoo, city streets and a farmyard. But the attributes inherent in human life (work, marriage, military service, leisure) do not release him from an animal form. A monkey, often found in Kobrin's films, is a creature claiming rationality, but giving his ignorance for the knowledge. This film is a reaction to the ambitions of the human mind and, in particular, to the changes that took place in Russian society in 1991.

Group portrait in still-life

1993 | Russia | 15 min | 35mm

The first film almost completely shot within Kobrin's studio, filled with all sorts of constructions and electronic devices. The unsettling atmosphere of enclosed space formed the basis of visual reflection on death. According to Director of photography Mikhail Kamionsky, the core idea of the film was the hypothesis, asserting that spiritual powers can communicate with the living through the use of modern technical means, escaping from the screens. This is the first Vladimir Kobrin's motion-movie, in which he used the technique of retaking the computer graphics to the film footage. In 1994, the film received «Nika»award for the best popular-science film.

Future Continuous

1993 | Russia | 17 min | 35mm

This film, completely made through the computer animation, draws a bleak picture of the mankind's future, in which slender rows of depersonalized bodies march in the landings of the Tower of Babel under command of Imperial eagle. Permanent metamorphosis of geometric forms accompanied by an ominous music can put under the hypnotic state. In Vladimir Kobrin's opinion, it was the exact pathological unconscious condition, in which the russian society remained.

Absolutely from Nothing

1997 | Russia | 17 min | 35mm

Ironic movie imbued with humanistic over-excitement about the contacts with extraterrestrial civilizations. The film's name Kobrin took from Hegel's «Philosophy of Religion», but in his film work Kobrin granted the ability to speak to the «kitchen» philosopher - Semen Semenovitch. In their dialogue, the author once again questioned the authority of rational consciousness: the phenomenon of love can not be explained by gene theory, and the brothers in mind need to be sought not in space but on the Earth.


1999 | Russia | 25 min | 35mm

The last film by Vladimir Kobrin, which he called his beloved one. In this unique self-portrait, all of the feature elements of Kobrin's cinematography imagery (The Tower of Babel, antique ruins, clocks and etc.) have found its reflections. But allegorically demonstrating the vices of mankind and discoursing about life and death, «GraviDance» is free of pessimism, commonly featured in the director's films. Kobrin always associated himself with the tradition of stunt cinema coming from Georges Méliès; here with the help of some kind of 'gags' he declares his love to another legend of the 'great silent' - Charlie Chaplin. The results of the psychedelic visual experiment by Vladimir Kobrin are unpredictable, and this gives hope.
July 22