This sophisticated documentary is divided into three chapters, each represented by a room whose atmosphere is determined by one predominant emotion. With very few words but plenty of eloquent cinematography, the film touches upon basic emotional and mental states. In the first room, "Longing," we follow young boys, obedient cadets at a military school in St. Petersburg. Primarily from dysfunctional families, these teenagers would rather be anywhere than here. Just by observing their morning rituals, the school's rigid discipline and their way of interacting, we get a notion of their enormous solitude. One of the boys shifts the story to the second room, "Breathing," where we witness the hopeless lives of the people of Grozny, Chechnya. The last room, "Remembering," crosses the border to the neighboring province of Ingushetia, where people fight out their own tragedy. With a keen eye for detail (especially human faces), precise timing, and a soundtrack that combines vocals from the Orthodox Church with folk and classical music, director Pirjo Honkasalo creates a multilayered, poetic film.
Kristiina Pervilä for Millennium Film Oy, Kristiina Pervilä for Baabeli Ky
Magic Hour Films, Lisbet Gabrielsson Film
Niels Pagh Andersen, Pirjo Honkasalo