Badlands is a short film by the Moscow-based collective, Elli, in collaboration with musician Karina Kazaryan and modeling agency Lumpen. Elli is a collective aiming to go beyond fixed boundaries of commercial visual expression of people and culture, particularly visual representations of Russia. With Badlands, the collective is hoping to create a genuine visual portrayal of today’s Russia. The video’s haunting sounds contribute to the protagonist’s inability to escape his past, much like Russia’s difficulty with its inability to shake off exotified stereotypes related to its Soviet past. Badlands displays a grim, yet beautiful Russian reality that is unlike any of its visual contemporaries and successfully manifests Russia’s highly variable culture.
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