Beyond the White (2021)

October 11th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Evgeny Kalachikhin | Wri: Anastasia Gorokhova | USSR, Doc, 90′

If your idea of heaven is vast open seascapes and silence then Beyond the White is a documentary that may appeal

Cut off from civilisation the Northern Russian villages of the Kola Peninsula are scattered along the shores of the White Sea a southern inlet of the Berents Sea. Here on the Tersky coast wild white horses roam freely, rather like in the Camargue, and bring to mind Andrey Konchalovskiy’s award-winning film The Postman’s White Nights (2014).

In this remote location the twenty or thirty inhabitants live in traditional blue painted wooden houses surrounded by water, forests, and sand. Most have now moved to the larger cities and the major port of Arkhangelskaya. The weather-beaten inhabitants that remain live in blue-painted wooden houses and survive from dwindling fish stocks -mostly herring – home-baked bread and pies that are cooked in kiln-like ovens built into the chimney.

The focus is a fire that has been burning across the flat steppe like-terrain providing cause for concern reflected in Alessandra Medianikova’s incendiary images. But Anastasia Gorokhova avoids a traditional narrative relying instead on the stunning landscapes themselves and an often epic soundscape to paint a vivid panoramic picture of the locals and their animals – including mosquitoes- living in communion with nature in the wild beauty of the primitive elements at the end of the world. MT

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