The Whale from Lorino

  • Maciej Cuske
  • Poland
  • 2019
  • 59 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

According to the origin myth of the Siberian Chukchi people, mankind was born from the marriage of a primeval mother with a whale. Man and whale lived happily together for a long time, until a man killed his whale brother. Since then, hunger and suffering has prevailed on earth.

This myth introduces a keenly observed portrait of the remote town of Lorino, in the far northeast of Siberia. Endangered whales are still hunted here, not only because it’s traditional, but also out of bitter necessity. As they wait for the catch, customers buy their food on credit in the poorly stocked village supermarket. A bust of Lenin looks out over the village square, in memory of an era that has also marked life profoundly here, though perhaps in less visible ways.

Oil barrels and whale bones are toys for the children, who have to write an essay at school about the fundamental difference between humans and animals. The very worst off in Lorino are the arctic foxes languishing in the fur farm. As for the whales, they would do well to stay out in the open sea.


  • 59 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Other languages
  • Subtitles in: English
Maciej Cuske
Mikolaj Pokromski for Pokromski Studio
Piotr W. Bernas
Katarzyna Orzechowska
Jarosław Sadowski, Marcin Lenarczyk

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

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IDFA history

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