Moa Pillar, an electronic music artist, heads for the Caucasus in search of inspiration, and then to work with traditional Circassian musicians. Although he is looking forward to new encounters and discovering another culture, his guide, Bulat, constantly questions the value of this experience and the possibility of any dialogue between secular traditions and modern culture. For, too often, electronic music has been content to affix a mechanical rhythm onto samples of traditional music in order to make them ‘modern’. Moa Pillar’s project is driven by the ideal of dialogue and exchange, but the initial momentum of opening up to others can easily be transformed into mistrust, given how blurred the lines between appropriation and collaboration are.
Bonfires & Stars accompanies the two protagonists, coming to support the approach as much as it questions it. But beyond assisting, by completing the project to gather folkloric musical material and placing the character in the Caucasus’s grandiose and elusive landscapes, the film captures the pantheist mysticism that the musical project is attempting to find.
director: Sasha Voronov
d.p: Ruslan Fedotow
sound: Vadim Kolosov, Olga Subbotina
producer: Pavel Karykhalin
production producer: Alisa Liudinshina
art-director: Olga Korsun
designer: Yuri Stepantcev