Using the writings of the Moscow writer Andrei Sinyavsky and the mathematics teacher Amalia Susi, both interns, this labour of love documentary takes the train East to approach the subject of their texts, the Siberian labour camps. Descriptions of gulag routine and the hardships of daily life are interspersed with meditations on extremity and the surprising existential 'benefits' of such difficult isolation. The long train journey serves as a metaphor for the dislocations of time and space described. Lyrical shots of landscape and stations (sometimes over-extended) set the tone, occasionally ruptured by an annoying hand-held speed trawl through the carriages and an accompanying whiny rock instrumental. But there's no escaping the power of the sea sequences at the end, after 'release'. (The film's English version has an Americanised voice-over which distances somewhat from the locality and experience described.
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