Un bonheur hydroélectrique

Alexander Markov
France | 2024 | 61 min
World premiere
Languages : Russian, Arabic
Subtitles : English, French

Vadim Rudenko, a young hydraulic engineer and amateur filmmaker, is working on the construction of the Aswan Dam in Egypt, at the cost of his burgeoning relationship with Vera, who has stayed behind in the USSR. Drawing on an epistolary account and previously unseen archive material, Alexander Markov brilliantly evokes a generation for whom individual happiness was tied to the destructive rise of industrial socialism.

"I am a conqueror of rivers," announces the title card of an 8 mm reel, shot by Vadim Rudenko in the 1960s. When he met Vadim, Alexander Markov (Red Africa, VdR 2022) was struck by the former hydraulic engineer's proud recollection of his involvement in the construction – completed in 1957 – of a huge power station on the Volga River, and the trail of environmental destruction, flooded towns and displaced populations left in its wake. The idea that was to become Hydroelectric Joy then came to him: a story woven from amateur films and official archives, centred on the young Vadim's trip to Egypt to work on the Aswan Dam. The director adds a further dimension with an epistolary love affair (narrated in voice-over) – an invention inspired by his memories – between the engineer and a certain Vera, who remained behind in Leningrad. The combination of triteness and spectacular imagery pulls the film in the direction of a meditative metonymy. Vadim embodies an entire generation of homo sovieticus, tying his individual happiness to the destructive rise of industrial socialism. The conquest of the Nile was worth it for a love story... and a Volga saloon car!
Emmanuel Chicon
Hydroelectric Joy, 2024
Red Africa, 2022
Our Africa, 2018


Alexander Markov
Pierre Armand
Svetlana Pechenykh
Victor Sologub
Rebecca Houzel
Sales contact
Rebecca HouzelPetit à Petit Productionrhouzel@petitapetitproduction.com0630921988

International Medium Length & Short Film Competition

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