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How I Ended This Summer (2010)

Directed by Victor Popogrebsky

Pasha and Sergei are the only people working in an old meteorological station on a desert arctic island. Pasha, a young graduate sent to the easternmost corner of Russia for the summer, easily deals with the station’s new equipment, but, unable to cope with isolation, he finds solace in video games. His scruffy, non-communicative co-worker Sergei, who is in his 40s, is suspicious of modern technology and takes pride in repetitive work, but feels quite at home on this remote island where he has spent his life researching the Arctic weather. As the two of them go about their daily lives, their mutual distrust and personal differences brew conflict from the very beginning, where, in a secluded space, the potential consequences can be catastrophic.

The symbolic clash between the two generations, Soviet and post-Soviet, plays out against a stunning backdrop of northern nature that stays indifferent to the human drama. Apart from exploring the issues of power, masculinity, and empathy, How I Ended This Summer is a potent reminder that while nature does not need us, we still depend on it, and our interventions in the environment can eventually backfire twofold.

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