Commendations for The American Who Electrified Russia


 “A lovely intimate family portrait that tells the story of the 20th century.”

“A very stimulating and engrossing film, on a number of levels. On my way home I was thinking that it’s a non-fiction shadow version of ‘Zelig’, in which of course Woody Allen miraculously and magically inserts a ‘nobody’ into history via manipulating the archive. Your film, no less magically, though staying within a more ‘sober’ documentary discourse which thoroughly respects the status of archive film, at the same time gives a wonderful sense of an amazing ‘somebody’  inhabiting key historical moments in the 20th Century.

The other main theme I got from it is the sense – now out of fashion in ‘post-modernity’ – of the socially progressive and liberating aspects of technological development, epitomised in the shot of the three dancing men that you repeat – your hymn to the body electric, powered by the gorgeous (also repeated) shots of the rushing water.”

“The affirmation of personal testimony as part of the historical quest and the exposition of the work of a great archivist. The slippages and conjunctures which only one person’s life can contain, beyond the boundaries of what is documented whether in text or film. The power of the image, of those extraordinary clips from the archive, to override the fact with the pride of an age, moment and regime.”

“A fascinating film that connects the life of a most extraordinary man, Solomon Trone, to the key social revolutions of the early 20th century. The wonderful, meticulously researched archive footage and the insights into the role of electrification for the new political configurations in Russia, China and India, plus the links to American giant General Electric reveal a dimension of these revolutions as yet hardly known.”

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