Supported by

The Atlantic Selects

Scaling Buildings With the ‘Russian Spiderman’

Jun 04, 2018 | 831 videos
Video by Geoffrey Feinberg

Filmmaker Geoffrey Feinberg is afraid of heights. So when he first stumbled upon Kirill Oreshkin’s daredevil selfies, “they made me break out in a cold sweat,” Feinberg told The Atlantic. Oreshkin, a self-described urban explorer who has been dubbed the “Russian Spiderman,” frequently scales Moscow’s tallest buildings; at the top, he snaps a photo of himself perilously hanging, one-handed, from the ledge.

Intrigued by Oreshkin and the growing roofing subculture he’s a part of, Feinberg traveled to Moscow to follow the 19-year-old as he climbed buildings across the city over the course of two weeks. “It was a bit of a roller coaster through the city,” Feinberg said. “Every day of filming was a surprise and an adventure. We never knew where we were going.”

Feinberg’s film, The Hanging, depicts Oreshkin relentlessly pursuing his stunts with a tranquility that belies their dangerous nature. Indeed, for Oreshkin and his peers, roofing is about much more than the resultant social media stardom—it’s an opportunity to self-actualize in a society still recovering from communism.

“Roofing is an expression of alienation, independence, and rebellion [against] the old mentality of the Soviet era,” Feinberg said. “It [symbolizes] being able to make space to find what you want to do and create your own path.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.