BLACK SNOW (RUSSIA/2020/DRAMA/THRILLER)
Language: Yakut (Turkic language)
Gosha is a self-employed trucker, who delivers goods to remote northern parts of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). He uses his competitive edge and his services are expensive. Moreover, he supplies fake low-quality vodka to his native community, thereby alcoholizing the locals.
After another trip, he exchanges vodka for meat and fish – the only currency the northerners are able to pay him. His greed lures him into driving back to the city without a partner-driver. During the journey, his truck breaks down. He is stuck in the middle of nowhere. Нe is the only living soul for hundreds of kilometers around.
"Black Snow" is the story of a trucker from Yakutia who goes on a five-day trip alone. What happens to him on the road is perceived as a consequence of his isolation from his roots, neglect of the traditions of his ancestors. Finding himself in extreme conditions, the main character rethinks his values, which makes it possible for him to return to people.
Writer/Director: Stepan Burnashev
Producer: Stepan Burnashev
Production Co: Saydam Baryl
Cast: Fedot Lvov, Ekaterina Khoyutanova, Vladislav Portnyagin, Kirill Semyonov, Alexandra Sivtseva
- Best Film, Grand Prix, Window to Europe, 2020.
- Best Composer Nominee, Russian Guild of Film Critics, 2021.
- Stepan Burnashev paints a very sober picture of the abuse of power and heartlessness born either out of need or greed. By setting up the story in the isolated region of Yakutia where life is a survival game, the writer/ director comes very near to the nature of the most basic of all instincts under special circumstances.
- Burnashev opens a door to purgatory that would scare the hell out of any hard-line cleric.
- Black Snow was shot amid the same winter chill that menaces the film’s protagonist. Lead actor Fedot Lvov stated in a press briefing during “Window to Europe” that the most difficult part of filming was lying beneath a truck in temperatures reaching -40 degrees centigrade. While Burnashev’s film has been lauded for its gritty realism and portrayal of the difficulties of life in a small Northern Village, Black Snow is, at its heart, a fable, a dark lesson about the dangers of abandoning communal values in favor of a selfish pursuit of profit.
- The film is also worth viewing for its showcase of the Sakha winter landscape along the lonely ice road. Burnashev’s treatment transforms this breathtaking environment, which other Sakhawood films often highlight for its beauty, into a menacing and isolated one.