How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray
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Directed by Aleksei Popogrebsky
Produced in 2010
Main Language - Russian with English subtitles
Artyom Tsukanov, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Igor Chernevich, Ilya Sobolev, Sergei Puskepalis
A Russian psychological drama which sees two men collide in the lonesome arctic regions. Graeme Hobbs finds allegories, vistas and more.
A psychological two-hander set against the surroundings of a remote arctic research station in the Chukotka Peninsula, How I Ended This Summer sees a seasoned meteorologist, the taciturn, capable Sergei, paired with a lax, headphone-coccooned college graduate, Pavel, whose gap-year attitude to committment is exposed when Sergei chides him for being a tourist, there only to write an essay about his experiences (his dismissive title of which gives the film its own).
However, Pavel's disengagement with the place is soon challenged when he fails to pass on an important message to his colleague who has gone fishing for arctic trout to take back to his family. Thereafter the landscape for Pavel assumes the contours of his own fearful and guilty imagination, fed by the morality-free rules of his computer game shoot-em-ups with which he passes his time. After he has pointed a gun on Sergei and run from the base to an abandoned building on a nearby headland, his very survival at the hands of the elements, his own delirium, and an ageing, leaking isotope beacon, becomes critical.
A study in isolation and engagement, reponsibility and consequences, How I Ended This Summer also stands as an an allegory about old and new Russia, legacy and contamination, and the challenge of a rootless generation finding meaning when common cause has been replaced with worthless ephemera.
The cinematography is impressive too, from the unsettling opening shot of a frozen sea which we try to will into movement to the time-lapse sequences of day and night rising and falling around the dilapidated weather station on the edge of a vast land mass.
Graeme Hobbs on 26th August 2011
Author of 300 reviews
A tense and absorbing Russian drama from Aleksei Popogrebsky (Koktebel), How I Ended This Summer takes place on a remote Arctic research station. The film charts the increasingly strained relationship between two men working at the tiny, remote station: experienced long-timer Sergei (Sergei Puskepalis) and adventure-seeking college graduate Pavel (Grigoriy Dobrygin), who arrives for the summer for work experience. When he fails to pass on a crucial message to his colleague, the landscape around him assumes the contours of his own guilty fears.
Publisher: New Wave Films
Length: 130 mins
Format: Blu-ray Colour
Released: 12th September 2011
Cat No: NWB026
- Interview with Director Aleksei Popogrebsky.