K OBLAKUM VZHLÍZÍME || 2014, Czech Republic || Documentary || Directed by – Martin Dusek / Written by – Martin Dusek, Joseph Krajbich / Cinematography – Lukas Milota / Running time: 66 mins.
Auto tuning is the art of fixing up a decaying car to make it look and sound like a million bucks. Martin Dusek’s improbably titled documentary Into the Clouds We Gaze is a film that takes us right into this world by following the life of a young man who struggles through his financial situation by half heartedly looking for a job. However, it’s clear that nothing brings him more joy than “pimping his ride.”
Though the film takes place in Northern Bohemia, the social and cultural examination of this particular setting remains quite marginal. However, the colourful eccentricity of these cars and the parties organized by the auto tuning communities provide a stark visual contrast when laid against the backdrop of this particularly bare and stripped down part of the Czech Republic.
Dusek opts to maintain a distance between himself and his subject, despite following him in his every day life, his relationship with his family and his romantic escapades. However, the more elaborately shot sequences, some of which make use of crane shots, also conceal a wish to highlight the romanticism of this world, as if wanting to celebrate its sheer escapism, to the point where it recalls the relevance of disco music in the life of Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever. The parallel may sound strange, but is also welcomed by the importance of the music, itself auto tuned, in Into the Clouds We Gaze.
There is no true story of redeption offered in the documentary, that is mostly a snapshot. A fundamental lack of tension and energy makes even its length of little over an hour seem to drag extensively. – 3/5