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The River 2002

  • Aleksey Balabanov
  • January 16, 2002
  • 50 mins
  • Russian
  • Drama
The film is set in the Arctic region of Yakutia and uses Russian voice-over narration and Yakut language dialogue. Based on a Polish novel by Vatsslav Serashevskii, this 50-minute film tells a story of jealous love and betrayal that end up decimating a small group of outcaste lepers who have been banished from participation in Yakut community life. They are two young men, Kirgelei and Dzhanga, an old couple, a little girl, Byterkhai, and Kirgelei’s pregnant lover, Mergen, who has no leprosy but is also an outcaste because she is a thief. The narrative is set in motion by the unexpected arrival Anchik, the healthy wife of Kirgelei, whose presence precipitates Mergen’s jealous hostility, which culminates in her setting fire to the hut of Kirgelei and Anchik.

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