Videos

A Shoe's-Eye View of Moscow

A new short film explores Russia's largest city, looking straight down

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I Look & Move is a charming stop-motion animation from the Russian filmmaking team Teeter-totter-tam. It focuses on the feet of a person as he maneuvers through a city, pulling extra attention to the infrascapes that dominate the urban pedestrian experience. In this case, the setting is Moscow, but the film’s shoe-gazing vantage point makes it pretty much impossible to tell.

The legs-only character walks through the city, playfully spinning and transforming the ground beneath him as he goes. One particularly cool scene uses varyingly damaged pieces of road to depict the character crash-landing onto the street. Overall, it’s a great use of existing imperfections and street qualities to create a cartoony effect.

Their website has a nice backgrounder on the filmmaking process, including a map of all the locations they used in Moscow and some frames that explain how certain effects were achieved. They also talk about the challenges of filming in the city.

Also we would like to note the Russian feature of privatization of the pavement and asphalt. Near Polyanka we had to talk with the head of the business centre. And we managed to find out that the owner of this business centre prohibited photographing and filming at this territory, although the area is open for walking. In general, all the time while creating this animation, we faced with a lot of comments about banning of photography in certain places. But the majority of this comments came from the police, who simply executed the “law,” guarding the secret and military objects.

Where they weren’t prevented from shooting, the filmmakers even gave a little back to the city by cleaning up some of the ground spaces to help achieve “cartoon aesthetics.”

“Unfortunately,” they note, “Moscow is a dirty city.”

(via Digital Urban)

About the Author

  • Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.