Some years ago I started coming to these villages. Every time I could see how these places grew smaller and more desolate, forgotten by the regional authorities and the surrounding cities. This is not just my personal assumption; statistics prove the rural exodus of Russian villages exists. If this process continues, all these places will cease to exist within approximately 20 years. This is why my intention was to take what I saw and give it a special poetic wrap.
BEYOND THE WHITE shows relationships between people living away from city life and civilization. Nature and humans, space and time, life and death - all merge and melt into one here, in the far North of Russia. Each scene of the film questions the meaning of life and shows human existence in a place ruled by the laws of nature - often silently, without uttering a word. In a way, this is a dialogue between humankind and God.
The main protagonist is nature itself. The supporting characters are the villagers living their everyday lives without questioning it, yet happy enough.
We are just onlookers; uninvolved spectators, who savor the epic landscapes, at the same time witnessing their decay, sensing the foreboding demise of this almost magical world. Music is an integral part of the narration. It deliberately transgresses the conventional use of music in the cinema. On the contrary: the music acts as a full-fledged medium to represent notions essential to the story, but impossible to translate through the visual imagery.
Three villages are combined in one timeless space - somewhere beyond the Arctic Circle. On the Kola peninsula in the Russian North, a few dozen people still live in their traditional timber houses surrounded by water, forests, and sand. Nature provides for them, mainly the White Sea, but fish population has dwindled over the years. Fewer and fewer people want to stay; many move to the city, leaving their homes behind. Over time, these houses have turned into specters from the past, ownerless and lonely ruins. Only young children, visiting their grandparents in summer, breathe new life into this place.
The hamlets Tetrino, Chavanga, and Kuzomen in the Tersky Coast of the White Sea seem to head toward the fate of so many other villages all over Russia: a slow but inevitable extinction. Almost forgotten by regional governance, these people have to keep together to cope with their everyday struggle.