Frozen

'How I Ended This Summer'

by Michael Barrett

29 April 2011

If you succumb to its frozen rhythms, the film generates oppression and suspense.
 
cover art

How I Ended This Summer

Director: Alexei Popogrebsky
Cast: Grigory Dobrygin, Sergei Puskepalis

USDVD release date: Oct 2015

Review [10.Feb.2011]

A movie about two men and the weather. At a remote station in the Arctic Circle, young Pavel (Grigory Dobrygin, think a Russian Ethan Hawke) and his gruff, abrasive boss Sergei (Sergei Puskepalis, think a polar bear) while away the hours recording and transmitting data, including radioactivity. Pavel is intimidated by the stolid Sergei, who berates what he perceives as Pavel’s lax attitude informed by video games and headphones. When Pavel receives bad news about his superior’s family, he becomes too scared to tell him. Ironically, Pavel’s fears about being stuck with a scary guy in a hostile environment may create the situation he fears and trigger a bout of survival madness.

This Russian film is in the tradition of Andrei Tarkovsky and Alexander Sokoruv, which means lengthy, lovely, potentially wearing shots of the windy, wintry environment of sea and rock to immerse us in the desolation that informs the men. At 130 minutes, the picture is probably one reel longer than necessary. If you succumb to its frozen rhythms, the film generates oppression and suspense. Pavel’s skittishness doesn’t feel sufficiently justified and you may end up thinking that Sergei’s judgment is correct. It won prizes for best actor and photography at the Berlin Film Festival. A bonus short, Mirko Rucnov’s “First Day of Peace,” is another study in figures moving slowly through pretty but dangerous landscapes. This time it’s the Bosnian border on the day that hostilities supposedly end; the thing has an oppressive air of fatality that may also be predictability.

How I Ended This Summer

Rating:

Extras rating:

//related
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article