As the camera glides up over the snow capped mountains of Russia you are at once placed in the isolated world of the inhabitants of the weather station. Three men work at this station atop a mountain; far from life, and even further from predictability as the weather changes at will. The two meteorologists, Ivanov (Vladamir Gusev) and Drozdov (Sergey Garmash) have spent over a decade living here. They each have their own separate hobbies to keep them occupied, one searches for the Yeti while the other builds models of famous architectural sights. A few months prior to the beginning of our story a young man of nineteen years old was hired on as the cook and housemaid, Romash (Pyotr Logachev). He is a strange and quiet boy who likes to hide in hard to find places throughout the station but he possesses a quick mind and is always aware of everything that goes on around him. It is his story, dating back to childhood, that will inevitably cause the events that unfold in this mysterious thriller.
The Weather Station (Pryachsya) is structured with two alternating storylines, one in the present and the other in the past. When a distress call is made from the station a team of investigators is sent to help. Upon arrival they find the station deserted and any signs of how or why everyone is missing are not present. As the two agents uncover evidence or conjecture hypothesis’ about what occurred the film expertly shifts into flashbacks using fantastic cross cutting editing techniques, as well as match-on-action, to reveal the answers. But only partial answers are ever given as just as quickly as the film moves from present to past it moves back again to the present from the past. This deliberate withholding of all the facts keeps the mystery going and maintains the viewer’s interest as twists in the story appear to occur constantly.
New characters are introduced in the past while those in the present have no idea they ever existed. It becomes a riddle of the most confusing proportions for the investigators while the audience is well aware, to a certain extent, of what actually happened. We know of the visitor’s to the station the night prior, the femme-fatale who is inevitably present, the murders, betrayal, secrets and greed that overtook characters. Most importantly, we know what happened to Romash as a child and how he continues to live in fear that he will suffer the same fate as his parent’s. As the pieces of this puzzle are revealed nothing is ever actually as it seems and when the past and present collide in the end retribution is realized.
The FilmFracture Breakdown…
Production: 4 clocks
Editing: 3 clocks
(Russia, 2010, 83 mins, 35mm)
Directed By: Johnny O’Reilly
Screenwriter: Aleksey Kolmogorov
Executive Producer: Andrey Anokhin
Producers: Sergey Sel«yanov, Anton Zlatopolskiy, Vlad Riashin, Vitaliy Bordachev, Yuliy Matiash
Cinematographer: Alexander Simonov
Editor: Valeriy Fedorovich
Music: Valentin Vasenkov
Production Design: Nikita Chernov
Cast: Alexey Gus’kov, Anton Shagin, Egor Pazenko, Marina Alexandrova, Petr Logachev, Segey Yushikevich, Sergey Garmash, Vladimir Vladimir Gusev
This film was screened at AFI FEST 2010 presented by AUDI. For more information about the festival please refer to its website here.