Destination: No-Place, work-in-progress
Reality, poetry, appropriation, political commitment and cinematographic discourse come together to
explain the history of Vorkuta, a city located beyond the Arctic Circle, a concentration camp.
This film above all is a trip to the interior of Russia, specifically to Vorkuta, an abandoned city where the
roads don’t get there and even its inhabitants cannot leave. "No one would have dared to live in these lands.
There are the polar nights and magnetic storms. This affects psychologically, "explain the inhabitants of these lands. They also talk about corruption and the lack of freedom of expression in a country in which the ruling class subdues its population to deplorable living conditions.
The storyline is the false idea of progress. Vorkuta was born from the intention of exploiting coal. As the cold war and the arms race advanced, more and more mines opened up and the city expanded. 50 years later, the coal was of no interest any longer and quickly decadence and abandonment defined the city. The no resolution of Marxism is another central issue of the film. After the fall of the Soviet Union, in the Russian collective sub consciousness begins to grow a strong religious feeling to gives answers to the country’s situation. According to Tuchev's words, "the Russian faith is something that cannot be understood from reason, it can only be accessed through the heart”. The film also shows the difficulty to access a true historical memory by using file images.
The film is like an essay. It’s narrated through the voice off of two travelers and through interviews with
inhabitants who are in living in this odyssey. The voice off functions as an epistolary journal. The other
narrators of this story are the members of the Memorial Association, the only association that fights for
human rights in Russia. Anna Politkovskaya was a member of this association before she was killed.
Godard (Notre Musique) and Chris Marker (Letter from Siberia, Sans Soleil) are two directors who have
inspired the film. While for the contents, the texts of Michel Foucault (control societies), Paul Roicoeur’s
(Memory, history and oblivion) and Andrei Tarkovsky’s (Sculpturing time) have been inspiring.
The cinematographic language used is based on two narrative mechanisms. Poetic and hypnotic shots
coexist with other more dynamic camera in hand shots, typical of the street documentary. There is neither
illumination nor fictitious situations. The film montage is slow-paced, with long shots and silence moments
that offer the viewer the opportunity to reflect. There are also sudden cuts, both in image and sound.
The music is classical; mostly Russian pieces composed by Dmitri Shostakovich and Igor Stravinsky but also pieces of Debussy , Mozart or folk songs of the glorious era of Russia.