HD Video, 22’ 3” (2019)
language: Russian with English subtitles
Cloudberries are potent, elusive Arctic berries known as Sámi gold which grow only in the wild and are viewed not as currency but as a gift. In the film they are also a token of resistance and survival.
Cloudberries was filmed in a small fishing village in Arctic Russia during what was then the hottest summer on record. The village has geo-political significance due to its proximity to the Shtokman gas field, one of the largest natural gas fields in the world. It is also a destination for not-always-welcome tourists who flock to see the ‘wild’ north that they saw in the award-winning film Leviathan, filmed here. Decisions to use and transform the place are taken thousands of miles away, ignoring the place itself. But lives go on below the radar.
The narrator is ‘just visiting’ with her camera. She chats in kitchens through the Arctic summer night, meeting villagers and visitors, listening to the sounds of wildlife and the sea, a music festival, and an abandoned school house. The film focuses on these: the artist dependent on being taken in, trusted to record glimpses of people’s lives, and their stories. She follows paths of desire (and profit) and sets out to sea.