How I Ended This Summer (aka Kak Ya Provyol Etim Letom) review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
How I Ended This Summer is a Russian language film about two very different men thrust into a strange and intense situation. The men, Sergei (Sergei Purskepalis) and his young partner Pavel (Grigory Dobrygn) are scientists based on a metrological station in the Artic, where harsh weather conditions and 24-hour daylight rule. Their job is to monitor their surroundings and take readings of the radioactive activity of the area. The film follows the two men as they struggle to understand one another, battles of age, priority and responsibility rage in the bleak winter sun of this movie.
The film’s plot shines enigmatically, though simple it is a truly human and emotional tale filled with beauty and tragedy, yet played out in an honest and simplistic manner. Whilst visually director, Aleksei Popogrebsky.
Uses the deft control of his camera and the harsh climate of the setting to mirror the emotional struggle of the two men of the polar station. Popogrebsky uses the camera and the soundtrack of the film to both isolate and integrate his characters from one another and into the audience, warm and uplifting music and stoic controlled camera work bring the two characters to life within the first minutes of the movie; and from that moment on you find yourself deeply touched by the sheer stamina and their determination to survive.
Not that this is a film filled with action, but rather that the strain of the climate and the relationship between the men prays heavily on both of them; threatening both their civility and sanity.
This is certainly not an easy film to watch, although for those who appreciate the more difficult and slow foreign films they will certainly find this a pleasure to watch.