Obkhodniye puti [Detours] (2021)

Obkhodniye puti
Director: Ekaterina Selenkina
Writer: Ekaterina Selenkina
Cast: Denis Urvantsev
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 26.10.2021

The treasureman (Denis Urvantsev) is one of the next generation of drug dealers, basically arranging sales by geocaching. He makes his way through Moscow, discovering and communicating hiding places.

Detours is a slow film that is as close to a documentary as a fictional movie can probably get. It asks a lot of its audience, and – still loaded with frustration and anger from The Hand of God – I wasn’t entirely able to give it everything it needed. But it is definitely an interesting film.

The film poster showing various places and people superimposed over each other, creating a collage effect.

Detours is shot almost entirely at a distance from the treasureman and his business. The camera is always stationary, always looking dispassionately, capturing not only what he is doing, but the city itself. It’s a modus operandi that you have to be able to fall into a little – and that’s exactly the part that I didn’t manage that day.

But I know that if I had seen a good film beforehand, or if my batteries had been better charged, I could have done it. I was always this close. But even though I couldn’t quite experience and appreciate the film like I wanted to, there was enough there to be very intriguing.

The treasureman (Denis Urvantsev) measuring drugs while sitting in a bathtub.

The director accompanied her film and talked about the research she did beforehand, how she trawled the Darknet until somebody was willing to talk to her about this way of buying and selling illegal drugs. It does seem rather ingenious, I have to admit. And it appears that Selenkina stuck very close to the truth with her film.

So, if this concept sounds interesting to you, do watch the film. Just make sure you don’t do so when you’re not ready to fall into a film and let yourself be carried along by its current.

The treasureman (Denis Urvantsev) standing in front of a group of identical apartment buildings.

Summarizing: unusual and good.

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