Ksenia Okhapkina
EST, LV 2019

The city of Apatity in the Murmansk region of Russia owes its existence to the early Soviet colonization of the regions along the Arctic ocean. As Ksenia Okhapkina points out in a preliminary insert, those parts of the Soviet Union were also the site of an enormous Gulag system for forced labor and the resettlement of political prisoners from the 1930s to the 1950s. Today, the ghosts of the old system are still widely recognizable. An industrial infrastructure for extraction of monumental dimensions looks almost ancient in the dim light of the long northern winters. Yet Okhapkina is also interested in the generation of today: Who are the people now living and growing up in those hostile environments? She finds that social life in Apatity is still strongly framed by Soviet mythology: the cadets of the youth army are trained to live up to the example of the heroes who won the Great War under Stalin. Even if both sexes can form part of their ranks, they are still brought up with highly traditional gender notions: ballet for the girls, bullets for the boys. A strong and eerie soundtrack also contributes greatly to a documentary that is as atmospheric as it is political. (Bert Rebhandl)


  • Ksenia Okhapkina
  • Aleksandr Dudarev
  • Aleksandr Demyanenko
  • Artem Ignatev
  • Stijn Deconinck
  • Ksenia Okhapkina
  • Robert Jürjendal
  • Arian Levin
Vesilind OU, VFS Films

Vesilind OU

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