Set against the serene frozen tundras of the Arctic, a group of desperate sailor's wives wait patiently for their husbands return from sea. As bad news knock on their door, one woman finds ... See full summary »
A stark, atmospheric drama whose scenario is a Russian submarine base/fishing village well above the Arctic circle. The characters are the submariners' wives and their different ways of coping (or inability to cope) with their husbands' absence and with neglect from the naval authorities, who are unable or unwilling to inform them on their husband's whereabouts. The unsympathetic protagonist is Lena, a newly married arrival at the base from St. Petersburg. Her way to cope is shunning the wives' petty social events and attempts at friendship and going drinking in local bars, attracting hostile gossip with a brief extramarital affair. As the grim truth emerges, Lena's unemotional reaction is channeled into a private investigation into her husband's past romantic liaisons; that connects with the first scene of the movie, until then unrelated to the rest. Lena's detachment may be linked with having taken care for years of her ailing mother, which kept her unable to lead a normal life.
Nothing much happens on screen. In a sense, the real protagonist of the movie is the landscape, a gallery of gloomy , stark, eerily beautiful snowscapes, grey seas, melancholy skies, decaying and abandoned buildings and an aurora borealis at the end which are more intense in themselves than the film's human happenings. Good work by director Yusup Razykov, screenwriter Ekaterina Mavromatis, and cinematographer Yuriy Mikhaylishin.