Definitely one of my faves of the festival!
The story begins with a group of friends boozing and bounces around the characters before settling on Sveta, the main protagonist. It’s a doomed love story set in Norislk, a heavily polluted northern city which is inside the arctic circle and cut off from the rest of the country by impenetrable terrain .. “Norilsk has an extremely harsh climate. It is covered with snow for about 250–270 days a year, with snow storms for about 110–130 days.”
The ending is perfect, ambiguous but with a hit of hope in a movie which is pretty bleak.I hope things work out for Sveta but the options don’t look too good. I think I dig endings where the sound and visuals tie together well, just like Half Nelson and Blue Valentine.
The Q&A was interesting, giving a bit more context on the place and the director’s ideas. She denied making a feminist movie, which is fair enough, lots of directors aren’t keen to label or box their productions, but for me this is a feminist movie in some aspects, using a strong young female protagonist to show what a patriarchal place Norilsk is and how few options for escape there are. I’d like to get more into that but can’t really do so without spoilers.
The director stated there were no metaphors in the film and that it was a specific story set in a specific place, but that argument is full of holes. The title is itself metaphorical, being detourned from an actual factory. It’s cool that she came though and that we got to discuss zapoi afterwards. I agree that Russia does drinking well but London squat raves can compete in terms of bingecore i would respectfully suggest.
The film was finished just before the filmfest and unfortunately it didn’t win a Tiger and I’m pretty sure it won’t get distribution in Western Europe, especially the UK. Would love to be proved wrong though! The film will probably also cause controversy in Russia since it’s made by a Moscow-based troupe who were lambasted in the local press for showing Norilsk in a bad light. I’m not sure how authentic it is, but it doesn’t misrepresent I think. It must be a pretty shit place to live in terms of the pollution and prospects. Then at the same time, people make do wherever they are.