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An extraordinary and endangered life

The Book of the Sea (Kniga morya)
Regissør: Aleksej Vakhrusjev
(Russland)

Yupik-Inuit: The Book of the Sea is a mesmerizingly beautiful close-up study of a way of life that disappears in step with the melting of the poles, and shows a side of Russia we have hardly seen before.

The Book of the Sea takes us to a group YupikInuit living far northeast of Russia, along the icy coast of the Bering Strait. Filmmaker Aleksei Vakhruschev (b. 1969) – who himself grew up in a Yupik Inuit family – is educated at Moscow's acclaimed All-Russian State Cinematographic Institute (VGIK), and in his latest film, he highlights the existence and challenges of a people who both literal and metaphorical sense are on the edge of the cliff. At a rapid pace, the climate crisis is destroying something that has survived for millennia.

The Book of the Sea
The Book of the Sea (Kniga morya) Director Aleksej Vakhrushev

In the scarce century that has passed since Robert J. Flaherty's groundbreaking silent film about the Inuit in Canada, Nanook of the North (1922), the lives and lives of the Arctic indigenous peoples have rarely been given close and detailed attention. Vakhruschev -
who directs and produces his films through his own company, High Latitudes – has personal knowledge not only of the melancholy and dazzling beauty of the landscape he has grown up in (the icy lakes, the midnight sun), but also to the depths of pain and despair like modern times , governments, and global warming have inflicted – and inflicted – such small communities.

The Book of the Sea is centered around a group of hunters who provide basic protein supplies in a society of 1500 souls – most of them unemployed and many of them alcoholic (including, according to the film's press release,...

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Nick Holdsworth
Holdsworth is a writer, journalist and filmmaker.

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