ZIMNIK – The Ice Road
A trip along the Zimnik, the ice roads that cross the Siberian wilderness during the long winter months.
15 – 20 | 2013 | Documentary | Lithuania | Live-Action | Travel
Siberia. We are in the district of Evenkiysky, in the Krasnoyarsky region, located in the center of the Russian territory, that is, the most remote point of the Nation, near the latitudes of the Arctic Circle. Here winter lasts nine months, during this time, the ‘Zimnik‘ (from ‘Zima’, Russian for winter) are the only means of communication: massive ice roads that cover distances of about 4000 km and disappear in summer.
Remote and inhospitable, this is one of the least densely populated areas of the planet. Realized by Žilvinas Vasiliauskas, Berta Tilmantaite and Giedrius Dagys, three Lithuanian professional photographers who share an adventurous passion for nature, the short offers a unique opportunity tosee these places that seem out of this world.
The realization of Zimnik was indeed an adventure that lasted a few months and was documented by the three directors in this blog, a sort of diary that also works as a complement to the images of the film. It’s been a long and tiring journey, with dramatic moments in which nature has taken over, but it was worth the effort.
The result is an immersive look into the wilderness, where the average temperatures are around -40°, snowstorms are constant and a wide lack of electricity makes life conditions very harsh. Everything seems suspended in time, as the daily life of the hunter Oleg, who lives in a small hut in the middle of nowhere. Other ‘seasonal’ hunters live in tents erected here and there near woods and lakes. They seem like scenes from an hundred years ago, but that’s how you survive ‘beyond civilization’, it’s a survival of the fittest between man and nature, but also among the animals themselves.
The real stars of the short, however, are the landscapes. Uncontaminated moors where all sorts of weather events take power, undisturbed and careless of man, blinding whites and the dreamlike lights of the aurora borealis alternate in unforgettable images, aesthetically amazing, an evidence of the long artistic training of the three directors.
Sometimes it is hard to believe it’s all real. Even the soundtrack, made by moments of absolute silence where the sounds of nature reign followed by others that are accompanied by traditional songs, increases the overall alienating and captivating tone of the short. A contemplative documentary, where dialogues are reduced to a minimum, because words are not needed here, these lands speak for themselves, their story is in their very being.
During the making of the documentary, the three directors (united under the name dikiy.me) also realized some photo stories that have won many awards and have been published in major magazines around the world, such as the National Geographic.
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