1h 34min  |  Drama, Sci Fi  |  Release Date: 14.10.2023

The movie is included in the RIGA IFF 2023 programme.

The enemy approaches from the north. Luka, a skilled sniper, is ready to do whatever it takes to protect his homeland from being invaded. He crosses the scorched earth from region 27, heading for the outpost Fort Kairos. Waiting for him there is the General and the troops that guard the land from what is to come. Beyond, to the north, there is nothing but emptiness and the enemy. Luka does not yet know that the impending battle – thoughts of an attack that will seemingly never come, an enemy that might never arrive – will slip into paranoia. Suddenly, as the stinging wind whips up the grains of sand, his mind is a battlefield.

A brilliant film about the tactical mission that twists in the protagonist's head – retreating from the steppe, it tackles the most fragile points of post-truth society. The desire for recognition, penal systems, surrendering to "the system" and a bureaucracy that would surprise even Kafka is reflected in the character of the General, played by Geraldine Chaplin. Belgian director Woodworth's richly textured black-and-white film, based on Italian writer Dino Buzzati's critical, picaresque novel The Tartar Steppe (1940), screened in the main competition in Rotterdam. It is a triumph of cinematic visuality (pay attention to the "hierarchy of shots”!). Making the ghostly expanses of Bulgaria and an abandoned Sicilian power station into an infinite space of anticipation, here men torment their minds and bodies with martial arts exercises as they wait for their mythological enemy. There is no one. Supposedly. For now. Maybe.

The movie is in English with subtitles in Latvian.

Distributor: Riga IFF
Director: Jessica Woodworth
Cast: Jonas Smulders, Jan Bijvoet, Geraldine Chaplin
Links: IMDB, Official homepage


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