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original title: Artel

2006, 30 min., b&w

family history hicksville sea life snow the far north

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY : Social / Society / Human
PRODUCTION : BUDGET : 30 000 euro



Kuzma Vasilievich Laikachev, Sergey Laikachev, Polina Laikacheva, Kuzma Laikachev, Alexander Syromolotov


Director : Screenplay : Sergey Loznitsa
Cinematographer : Sergey Mikhalchuk
Producers : Vyacheslav Telnov


FESTIVALS: IDFA 2006Gent International Film Festival 2006, Mar del Plata Film Festival 2007, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2007, Ecocinema Festival 2008, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2011, Planete+ Doc Film Festival 2013


The space of life sometimes comes down to very simple things.

Imagine: white sky, white snow, skyline, wind, a human figure tucking into ice. The man makes a hole in the ice. For him, it is a possibility to live.

Seeming simplicity of life is everything that we are capable of seeing.

Perhaps we can sometimes also detect the direction of the flow.


This film is a 30-minute contemplation of the hard work of fishermen living in rigorous northern world. It does not have musical score and it almost has no dialogue.



“Master shots, long takes, wide lens, black-and-white – absurd poetry of daily life. It seems to be a film formula that Russian directors have a patent on. You could make all sorts of critical remarks about it, but the genre yields many a gorgeous film. In Artel, we follow a group of small black silhouettes on a wide white landscape with a couple of log cabins. Beneath the snow and ice they are walking on, fish are swimming. In any case, the men spend a lot of time dealing with some fishing nets. If they did not use a chainsaw to make a hole in the ice, the film could just as well have been made 80 years ago. The documentary seems to say that life by the sea has always looked like this and it always will. Or is the final shot, when the ice breaks and the water flows, a reference to the old Soviet masters and an optimistic symbol of imminent change in a frozen social situation?”IDFA