North Village on the Silver Screen

Postman Tryapisyn going out in his boat. Photo from the film

KENOZERO. It´s an early summer morning in a small village in northern Russia. Postman Alexe Tryapisyn gets up from his bed, looks at his crumbled legs and puts his feet in the slippers. It’s time to get up, make tea, have breakfast, jump in the boat and start working. Postilion Tryapisyn lives in a breath-taking scenery. The feature movie is filmed in the Kenozero National Park, in the western part of Arkhangelsk region. The landscape, with its lakes, forests and small villages is picturesque, a fairyland where time seems to have stopped, with the postman as the only link to the outer world.

The boy Timor gets afraid in a mystical river, here with postilion Alexey. Photo from the film

The film ”The Postman´s White Nights” is directed by well-known Russian-American filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky, brother of the famous Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov. The roles are played by locals, and the main figure Alexey Tryapisyn acts under his real name. The story is low-key. The most dramatic scenes is when Alexey´s outboard motor is stolen from his boat. In the film we follow him on his rounds around the lake, and the meetings with beautiful Irina, a local drunkard, a small boy. The leading roles, aside from postilion Aleksei, though, are the Kenozero village and the landscape.

Morning ritual – checking the teeth. Photo from the film

The film has recently been shown on Russian television on prime time, and reviewers have expressed different opinions. Some think that it´s a shallow film that gives a false and romantic picture of the hard conditions in dying Russian villages today, a picture that suits the Russian leadership. Others see the film as an antipode to western commercial films, in carrying other, more true and profound values.
The film won the Silver Lion award at the Venice film festival earlier this year.

The whole film (in Russian, no subtitles) can be seen HERE

Info about director ANDREY KONCHALOVSKY


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