Earth, sea, sky, and God, the arctic is the where Eden must have been. So far removed from our ordinary, so near the faces of the angels, it is close to death, and a place to freeze life and time. My friend Sergey Rasshivaev took me there to ride the surf today. Well, at least he and his comrades have made a stunning film to share this ultimate adventure with the world.
Surf in Siberia: Arctic Ocean 5 is about Russian surfers riding the waves of the Far North. Shot over the course of a year, to show the seasons of the Murmansk region, the film is an ethereal journey that delivers the audience into the stilled moments, the brain freeze clarity of self realization, that Eden was a place in the existential mind. Sergey, and surfing companions Nikolay Rahmatov, and film director Konstantin Kokorev, they venture forth to touch the “northern spirits”, and bridge the past, the now, and the future. Words do not easily convey how this short film captures not just the Russian spirit, but the humanness and stillness of life.
Icons of harsh existence, icons of the Soviet Era, the mental lure of our childhood we all cling to, wreckage, living, nature, the elements we are part of, the exquisite loneliness and starkness of the places in this firm are enchanting. Photographers Tatiana Elisarieva, Andrey Artukhov, Konstantin Kokorev, sound designer Andrey Cherniy, and operators Elisey Gladnikov, Alex Fetsov are chillingly real life adventurers. Watching them snowboard onto a pristine, abandoned beach made me realize how unusual their adventures must be.
Sergey recalls how difficult conditions were, and how he almost drowned once. It never occurs to most people that men so close with the sea elements can be pulled under, but it happens quite often. He and his companions discuss how serious, and how deadly living like they do can be. There is a moment in the film where Sergey, a strikingly handsome young man, looks 25 recalling his experience, and suddenly 50 registers in a still shot of him in a moment of wonder. Compelling, chiseling, neither word fully describes this moment.
But there are many, many more.
Anyhow, even as a storyteller, I cannot really type out for you what these surfers are trying to accomplish. All I can do is call your attention to the artistry, courage, and the people so full of life ….. out on the edge of the world, embracing the one true God. The Surf Siberia series reminds us, of the eternal within us, and the everlasting up near the top of our tiny world. Adam and Eve lived up there, then the chill banished them. My buddy Sergey, and his friends, I wonder if they realize they are searching for that legendary place?