Fri 16.8. at 5pm
#the desert as a mirror on society #russia
2018 / Switzerland / China / Russia / South Korea / USA
Length: 112 min
Language: Yakut, Russian, English, Korean
Director: Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev
Cinematography: Maxim Arbugaev, Vladimir Egorov, Peter Indergand
Editing: Christian Frei, Thomas Bachmann
Music: Max Richter, Eduard Artemyev
Sound Design: Florian Eidenbenz
Production: Christian Frei
Harsh, uninhabited New Siberian Islands hide mammoth tusks in their soil. So-called mammoth hunters look for them, dig them up and take them to the mainland for sale. These distinctive treasures, especially those in good condition, put a smile on the finders' faces. When a thawing permafrost reveals more than bones, joy arises elsewhere. An almost completely preserved mammoth carcass with fur, muscle tissue and even liquid blood found by the men interests Russian and South Korean clone researchers in search of intact DNA. The goal is to bring this hairy proboscidea back to life.
The film bounces between two worlds: the fascinatingly ascetic tundra and modern cities with their high-tech laboratories. When the film moves forward it starts to look like two thrillers, bound together around treasures found on the island. Even though patting a fluffy mammoth is a thrilling thought, ethical questions start to arise when we go deeper into dreams of clone researchers. Elsewhere, in mammoths' resting place, men struggle with their own boogies. Working on this part of the world is life-threatening itself, but how does it affect on mens mind, and what's waiting on the mainland?
In a context of artificial life, it is also interesting to think about death. Death fascinates and terrifies. It is indelible part of the biological cycle, and from time to time it's presence too overpowering to accept. When a person orders a clone of a deceased pet, we face the denial of death in a startling way. Bringing back into life an extinct creature would be an enormous scientific revolution, but it's also a suspicious race with the natural cycle.