An exquisitely shot and very moving film about an aging couple who appear to exist alone on the edge of the world, stoically surviving on the Arctic tundra in a way of life that may be about to end.
Writer/director Milko Lazarov’s second feature spotlights an aging Yakut couple whose lifestyle is on the wane. In snow-covered North Eastern Siberia, every footprint, every cloud, every passing airplane must be interpreted carefully for meaning. So too must the couple listen attentively to each other’s dreams. Despite their long intimacy there are personal mysteries and complicated dynamics to unravel with their children, one of whom (Ága) works in a diamond mine, several days' journey away.
Kaloyan Bozhilov’s majestic cinematography sinks the viewer deep into each magnificent icy frame, and despite a contemplative pace this movie never dawdles. Nothing exists in this landscape without a reason, and Lazarov’s precise cinematic poetry creates an intense, affecting and emotional piece of cinema where animals, bloodied or mystical, are key players. A dangerous imminence hangs heavily over the film, as with many stories set in such harsh conditions, but a sudden emotional finale bursts this movie into a whole new genre. This is a formally surprising and clever piece of story-telling which lands an unexpected conclusion – the triumph of connection over disengagement. — Jo Randerson
“A fiction with a documentarian’s eye and feel... Lazarov and his cinematographer Kaloyan Bozhilov never cease to amaze.” — Demetrios Matheou, Screendaily