A true story, set in the future. About seeds and genetic diversity, about growth and decay, about love and war, about hunger of all kinds. About what it means to be human, even when all your humanity is stripped away.
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Sean Price Williams
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Michael M. Bilandic
Caught in the grip of a war-torn Russian winter, the city is starving to death. Despite their hunger, Alyssa and Maksim heroically work to preserve the treasures of the world's most important seed bank - treasures that hold the key to the future of their country's food supply - even though its sustenance could mean their survival.
A strange movie I saw at the SXSW movie festival. The claim of Jessica Oreck's movie is, "A true story, set in the future". It is based on the 3-years siege of Stalingrad in World War II, when under the siege of the German army, more than on fourth of the population starved to death. The movie contains a lot of authentic voices from survivors of the siege, but the film takes place "in the near future". The look and feel of the movie, however, is more of a 60s Soviet-era--small, torn-down Ikea-less flats, old CRT monitors, shabby clothing. In the film, the city (of course, then called "Leningrad" again) is under siege. The main protagonists, a young couple of biologists--Alyssa and Maksim--work at the world famous N.I. Valivov institute, a resource for mankind's genetic treasure of plants and seeds. The institute was founded in 1921 and, indeed, the scientists under the 1943-45 siege were rather starving to death than eating the bank's precious plants and seeds.
A strange, and impressive film, mostly shot in b/w at the authentic locations in Russian language. With minimal resources, the director (about whom I know little) re-enacts a story about Leningrad's citizens' suffering and bravery.
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