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The winning film of the Vizantrop Festival 2023. in the category “Equality and community”

By 27.11.2023.No Comments

On the fourth day of the Vizantop Festival 2023, the winning film in the “Equality and Community” category – “Life of Ivanna” (Жизнь Иванны Яптунэ) from 2021, directed by Renato Borrayo Serrano, was announced.

We convey the decision of the jury Ana Banić and Petar Veljačić:

“Ivanna’s Life” unfolds as a captivating cinematic journey that delves into the extraordinary life of thirty-two-year-old Ivanna and her family. The film employs a direct and at times brutally honest approach, weaving an engaging and playful narrative that immerses the audience in an authentic, brisk observation journey. Through the lens of the observational camera, the film skillfully captures straightforward, compelling shots, inviting viewers into the intimacy of the portrayed lives. What follows is a unique and personal story of each viewer, assuming roles of spectator, observer, and voyeur, making the film an undeniable success in its simple invitation to observe.

The story happens in the Yamal Peninsula, a sanctuary for the last vestiges of traditional nomadic reindeer husbandry in the vast arctic tundras, where Nenets and Khanty reindeer herders navigate their deep connection with half a million domestic reindeer, embodying a way of life that transcends the bounds of time.

However, amidst the pristine landscapes of this largely undeveloped region, the looming spectre of progress surfaces in the form of monumental infrastructure projects – a gas pipeline, multiple bridges, and the anticipation of progress. The Yamal project, driven by the promise of exploiting a staggering reserve of 55 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, stands as Russia’s monumental energy endeavour. This progress threatens the age-old practice of nomadic reindeer husbandry, placing the fate and future of this tradition at the crossroads of modernisation and the enduring essence of traditional community life.

Wandering tremendous frozen tundras, within the confines of a small one-room ski cabin, our heroine Ivanna and her five children share with us their daily adventures through the lens of the filmmaker Renato Borrayo Serrano’s camera, whose ever-so-evident presence transcends amidst the lack of space inside of the cabin, and again in the open, within the vastness of the magnificent frozen tundras. From the opening shot, the filmmaker shows his mastery of how to actively disappear and make room for the audience to inhabit the time and space of the film.

In this time-space, we repeatedly observe Ivanna’s hardships, we hear her devastating stories from early pregnancies to the loss of a child and struggles with an alcoholic and violent husband, yet, all these hardships seem to pass by Ivanna, who seems unstoppable, and above all: observing, thriving.

“Ivanna’s Life” transcends the boundaries of typical documentary filmmaking, evolving into a cinematic odyssey and an inspirational exploration of perpetual observation. It transforms into a crude, captivating game of keen observation, challenging viewers to observe their own perceptions and engagement within their own  lives.

Life of Ivanna

Original title: Жизнь Иванны Яптунэ Duration: 80 min Year: 2021 Countries of origin: Russia, Norway, Finland, Estonia Direction: Renato Borrayo Serrano Synopsis: Ivanna is a young woman who belongs to the indigenous people “Nenet” from the Russian Arctic. Motivated by the deteriorating living conditions in the tundra and climate change, she wants a fresh start. She leaves the traditional lifestyle of Nenet’s reindeer herding and emigrates to the city with her five children. An intimate depiction of a woman and her feelings in a violent transition of life.