The vast territories that flank the banks of the Pinega river in northwest Russia’s Arkhangelsk region are covered by woods and inhabited by more wild animals than people. In the few existing villages, residents live off the land — fishing, hunting, and gardening. It is here that Russian artists and filmmakers Sasha Kulak and Yulia Kurmangalina decided to set their short documentary Ok Good, Pinega. Screening on 30-31 October at The Calvert Journal Film Festival, as part of the Special Screenings category, the film is a moving portrait of life in a remote Russian village punctuated by music, silence, and everyday conversations.
“In Pinega, society can only be described as a matriarchy, where beliefs, spells, and traditional rituals are passed down the female line,” explain the directors. “The musical contributions from village residents serve as a leitmotif for the film: unsteady renditions of old songs that reveal performances belonging to a distant past. The population of these communities has aged considerably — but the place itself is timeless.”
Through mesmerising landscape shots, immersive soundscapes, and slices of life, Ok Good, Pinega adds a touch of magic and attempts to capture the rapidly disappearing identity of Russia’s northern villages.
Ok Good, Pinega is screening on 30-31 October as part of The Calvert Journal Film Festival. Get your tickets here.