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The Messenger

Ruth Maclennan

United Kingdom, Russia, 2019
5 minutes, 53 seconds, Colour, Silent, 16:9
Original format: HD Video
Available formats: HD Digital file

The Messenger tells a brief history of the Arctic icebreaker, beginning with the Yermak, built on the Tyne for the Russian Czar in 1898. The film uses found images of icebreakers, paintings and photographs, magazine covers and advertisements, as well as moving images shot in the military base of Kronstadt, in Saint Petersburg on the edges of the Baltic Shipyard, and during the Icebreaker Festival, to trace the origins and purposes of the heroic narratives of icebreakers in the Arctic, and Russia’s economic, and military designs on the Arctic. The film reveals the icebreaker as more than a ship: it is a source of ambivalent fascination and desire, and a vehicle for ideas for controlling nature and colonization of the north.