At the Edge of Russia
Dir. Michal Marczak. 2010, 72 mins. DCP. In Russian with English subtitles. For his feature debut, Polish innovator Michal Marczak (Fuck for Forest, All These Sleepless Nights) decamped to the expanses of the Russian arctic for this rare exploration of life at a military encampment charged with guarding the country’s northern border. With considerable compassion and subtle absurdism, Marczak follows a teenage new recruit as he is initiated into the duties and rituals needed to contend with nearly unimaginably harsh conditions—including the constant threat of polar bear attacks—crafting an intimate portrait of the men at the furthest extremities of Russia’s military industrial complex.