Call of North

Country: Russian Federation, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 mins
Sound: Stereo
Ratio: 16:9
Available Format/s: BluRay / HD Digital file / DCP
Original Format: HD video
  • Collective / Community


Call of North was filmed near the Arctic Circle in Karelia in Northern Russia, on land and on sea, in the summer and winter. Images of driving snow around a lighthouse by the frozen sea are succeeded by the endless daylight and unceasing florescence of summer. Connections are made and unmade between sound and image, word and place. Images and voices come into and out of focus, demanding attention, interrupting, and then disappearing again. The matter of place, the wetness and surfaces of the sea and land, the forces of wind and tide are the substances in which the stories, and gestures of people, are caught up in a continual exchange. The soundtrack is a chorus of sounds recorded in the field, of birds, sea, insects, grass, trees and wind, as well as boats, trains and cars, interwoven with the voices of marine biologists, sailors, fishermen, a retired teacher, a kolkhoz worker and miner, a telephone engineer, a cook, a hotelier, a little boy, and many others who live here. Resilience, resignation, anger, anxiety, joy and love can be heard in the timbre and shades of the calls of North, but most of all a rustling of life, and an insistence on being heard. The film brings into focus a particular place – an ordinary place – on the White Sea near the Arctic Circle. It follows people’s relationships with the sea, and the changes that are happening with climate change and the geo-political shift northward. The traumatic past of the ‘Zone’ – Stalin’s labour camps – and the purges, continues to be experienced as unfinished business, impossible to metabolize. The more recent economic collapse of the end of the Soviet Union, and the increasing political tensions of recent years and months are alluded to obliquely, hanging in the air.Call of North is a call to pay attention to the voices that make up a place, that know it intimately, viscerally, and are of it, in the hope of grasping what living in the present moment means for life in the future.

More works by Ruth Maclennan

, 2009
14 Minutes

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