How I Ended This Summer
How I Ended This Summer is a slow burner of a film based on a remote Russian Arctic coast, where two Russian meteorologists are spending the summer in a rundown but still serviceable research facility. Time-lapse photography and stunningly beautiful, but bleak scenic pauses punctuate the first half of the film, forcing home the idea of total isolation. The two meteorologists are poles apart, with Pavel being a young student researching for his thesis, and well versed in loosing time through his MP3 player for FPS games and Sergei being the old hand who seems to have spent his entire life there.
Neither really connect, each having some tension towards the other bubbling just under the surface.
When Sergei elects to go on an un-schedualed three day fishing trip, leaving the young Pavel to cover for him on the daily radio checks, it seems like an idea that will give them both the breathing space they need to ensure they don’t kill each other.
But no sooner has Sergei left that Pavel gets a radio message that Sergei’s family have been involved in a fatal crash. The information weighs heavy and on Sergei’s return Pavel clams up and doesn’t tell him.
Rather than easing the burden, Pavel carers down the slippery road towards delusionary behaviour that puts them both at risk, turning How I Ended This Summer from a slow burning Foreign film into a taught, carefully paced thriller of sorts.
It’s a brave film that rewards a dedicated viewer.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read