Since Brokeback Mountain and the way in which Ang Lee captured the beautiful Rockies of Southern Alberta, Viatcheslav Kopturevskiy’s Siberia and Him is the first film that really becomes one with the story, the slowly progressing narrative and the soft, extremely evocative world that the two protagonists share and inhabit. There is a quiet desperation, there is deep passion and a sense of longing that only the Siberian wilderness, its tundra can convey in the most poetic and heartfelt ways.
Kopturevskiy’s lens is observant and also penetrative. He follows the story of Dima, a policeman who lives in a semi-rural town in Siberia. There is blatant homophobia, as Dima busts a bar with his colleague, where gay men frequent. While Dima tries to demonstrate restraint, his fellow cop spurts verbal violence. In his own close circle is the younger Sasha, a farm-hand, who starts off the film by attempting to take his life; he fails. The world is quiet, but emotionally punishing. Dima and Sasha are both struggling with their demons, while Dima’s wife struggles with the slow and gradual estrangement of her husband.
Sasha and Dima are one day tasked to go visit Sasha’s grandmother, who lives far away. She has been unresponsive, so someone needs to take the long journey and go check in on her. The two set out, meandering through the luscious Siberbian landscape, where gradually, and naturally their secret and forbidden love and angst for each other comes to the fore. Sasha confronts him for abandoning his true love for a conformist life, and Dima pines for his only love but is unable to accept who he is.
Siberbia and Him is a tragic and emotionally wrenching tale, beautifully portrayed through a harsh natural landscape, that makes no promises of sanctuary.