The young video blogger Altan (Ivan Konstantinov) sits on his father’s neck and, instead of making money, takes vines with him, short comedy videos for social networks. For educational purposes, on the advice of a family friend, he is sent to a polar fox farm somewhere at the edge of the world. Around not a soul, seagulls scream, the waves of the Laptev Sea gently splash. Of the benefits of civilization is satellite Internet. Soon Altan realizes that he is not alone in these parts. From a dilapidated wooden house next door, an old Baibal (Stepan Petrov) comes to meet him. He came here to die and dreams of being buried next to his long-dead wife.
Naturally, Altan is not going to bury anyone; talking about death scares him, recalling a difficult family history. Together with a neighbor, he starts a new video project — a series of videos in which Baibal fulfills his most cherished desires. The old man has them simple: to go fishing, to bake fritters, to hunt ducks. There is only one impossible. Baibal once lost his only daughter at sea. The body was never found, so the old man believes that the girl survived and was saved. Altan believes that social networks can help in her search.
I remember that in the early 2010s, Russian cinema was covered by the tsunami of “good cinema”. This label, with the filing of the brothers Andreasyanov, the creators of the movie company Enjoy Movies, was entrenched in sentimental crafts like the almanac “Moms” or the comedy “That Carloson!” The viewer watched these films, but didn’t swallow the hook: it was too obvious that behind the simulated "kindness" there was boundless cynicism and a thirst for using public funds received from the Cinema Foundation. Then the artificial glossy world on the domestic screens was replaced by war, the directors quickly reoriented themselves, and Russian cinema sharply changed its mind about becoming “good”.
“The sun does not set over me”
At about the same time, a phenomenon took shape in Yakutia, called the “Yakut miracle”: local filmmakers began making films that were very popular with the local public. At the moment, the Yakut wave has long been recognized by critics and festivals, but this movie still has problems with wide distribution in Russia.
At the same time, it is difficult to find something more spectator-like than “The sun does not set over me”. The film by Lyubov Borisova demonstrates all the wonders that the Yakut cinema is capable of. Here and the skillful use of northern nature, and excellent acting, and a laconic script based on the literary source (also, naturally, Yakut), and the skillful mixture of the tragic and the comic. And most importantly — this is a good movie without any quotes. His kindness does not come out of the order from the bureaucratic offices, but makes his way through the permafrost.
This year, the picture was at the Moscow Film Festival and was doomed to comparison with last year's Yakut participant — the film "Tsar Bird" by Eduard Novikov about an elderly couple who sheltered a living eagle in the house. “The sun does not set over me”, of course, it loses to Novikov’s tape in the richness of artistic techniques. Borisova clearly feels the influence of Asian drama series with their tenacious drama, sentimental musicality, an honorable nobility and cult of elders. The gap between young people who freely use new technologies and the “backward” previous generation, accustomed to living from the earth, is one of the most widespread and acute conflicts in modern Chinese pop culture.
In addition, unlike The Bird King, there is nothing distinctly exotic in Borisova’s film. Some part of the professional public for some reason assesses this as a flaw, as if the ambitions of the “Yakut miracle” do not extend beyond the borders of their own republic. But the essence of the self-proclaimed Sahavud lies precisely in its multifaceted character: the Yakuts do not want to engage in regional cinema, but in general cinema. With this approach, it doesn’t cost them to swing their analogue of the French hit “1 + 1” — it is to him that “The sun does not set over me” turns out to be closest. Did you think that in Russia there will never be such a movie? And it already is.
Author: Ksenia Reutova