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How I Ended This Summer(2010)
Winner of two Silver Bears at the Berlin Film festival for its actors and photography, and of the Best Film award in the 2010 London Film Festival, the film is set on a remote weather station in the Arctic manned by old hand Sergei and the novice Pavel. When Pavel receives an important radio message, his fear of the older man prevents him telling Sergei the shocking news. From this decption, lies and suspicions poison relations between the two to such an extent that Pavel is in fear of his life, not just from the polar bears that roam the island, but from Sergei. Filmed entirely on location in one of the remotest places in the world, How I Ended This Summer becomes a stunning existential drama of survival.
For more about How I Ended This Summer and the How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray release, see How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Grigoriy Dobrygin, Sergey Puskepalis
Director: Aleksey Popogrebskiy
» See full cast & crew
How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 12, 2013
Winner of Best Film Awards at the BFI London Film Festival and the Chicago Film Festival, Russian director Aleksey Popogrebskiy's "Kak ya provel etim letom" a.k.a "How I Ended This Summer" (2010) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors New Wave Films. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film and Q&A session with Aleksey Popogrebskiy chaired by Ian Christie. In Russian, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
The two men could not be any more different. Pasha (Grigoriy Dobrygin) is a young procrastinator, in love with his iPod. Sergei (Sergey Puskepalis) is a quiet old-timer who loves to fish. Even though they are the only people on the remote Arctic island of Archym and live in the same old shack, they rarely talk.
Each day, Sergei observes a set of old thermometers placed in large boxes that tell him how the area's climate is changing. He writes down the data in his log and forwards it to the mainland. Then he quietly listens to his boss reading the telegrams his wife has sent for him.
Occasionally, Sergei asks Pasha to enter the data in the computer. But he does not trust him and always ends up going over the numbers one more time to make sure that there are no errors. Sergei knows that the Internet has changed the way people send and receive information but still prefers to do it the old-fashioned way, using pen and paper.
One day, while Sergei is away on a fishing trip, a terrible message arrives about his family. Pasha is asked to give the news to Sergei when he returns and make sure that he remains calm. He is also assured that in approximately a week a small ship will reach their station and take Sergei back to the mainland.
But when Sergei returns, Pasha panics and hides the message. Then he makes sure that Sergei can't use their radio to communicate with his boss. A few days later, however, Sergei discovers the message and proceeds to punish his young and already seriously paranoid assistant.
Russian director Aleksey Popogrebskiy's How I Ended This Summer is an extraordinary film, at times evoking parallels with Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky's greatest films. It is slow, incredibly atmospheric, simply mesmerizing to look at.
Right from the get-go it is made perfectly clear that nature will play a key role in the film. The area where Pasha and Sergei live is bitterly cold but early on looking uncannily attractive, the type of place someone with an adventurous spirit would love to visit. But after Pasha becomes paranoid, it becomes obvious that the island could also be a terrible place for one to be alone with one's thoughts, very much capable of destroying one quickly and effectively in a variety of different ways.
The majority of the film is dialog-free. For long periods of time the camera simply observes Pasha and Sergei as they perform their duties and try to have some sort of a normal life. There are some incredible panoramic shots from the island as well.
The two Russian actors are sensational. Puskepalis definitely looks like the type of man that should not be questioned or disagreed with. The handsome Dobrygin is also very convincing as the young and sensitive procrastinator.
Popogrebskiy shot How I Ended This Summer in and around the Valkarkai Polar Station, in Chukotka, Russia, in exactly three months. He used the Red One Camera.
Note: In 2010, How I Ended This Summer won Silver Bear Awards for Best Actor (Grigoriy Dobrygin and Sergey Puskepalis) and Outstanding Artistic Achievement (cinematographer Pavel Kostomarov) at the Berlin International Film Festival.
How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080/50i transfer, Aleksey Popogrebskiy's How I Ended This Summer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors New Wave Films.
Shot with the Red One Camera, How I Ended This Summer looks fantastic on Blu-ray. The high-definition transfer is encoded in 1080/50i, but it actually contains progressive frames. Unsurprisingly, there is absolutely no motion-judder whatsoever. To be perfectly clear, this is essentially a progressive transfer 'locked' inside a 1080/50i encode.
Detail and clarity are often extraordinary. Especially when there is plenty of daylight, the visuals are mighty impressive. Colors are rich and very, very natural. Contrast levels are stable from start to finish. There are no encoding anomalies (aliasing and banding). Edge-flicker is also nowhere to be seen. To sum it all up, this is easily the very best looking Blu-ray release I have seen to date from New Wave Films. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Russian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Russian LPCM 2.0. For the record, New Wave Films have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The Russian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track opens up the film very well. The nature sounds are exceptionally crisp and clear. Dmitriy Katkhanov's ambient soundtrack is also well mixed to enhance the unique atmosphere as best possible. Surround activity is limited but such is the film's sound design. The dialog is stable and very easy to follow. The English translation is excellent.
How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Aleksey Popogrebskiy's How I Ended This Summer is an extraordinary film, at times evoking parallels with Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky's greatest films. It takes the viewer on an incredible journey to a place only a few directors have had the courage to visit throughout the years. The technical presentation is equally impressive. In fact, I now consider this the best Blu-ray release New Wave Films have produced to date. I wish we would have received a screener to cover it when it was first released. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray, News and Updates
• How I Ended This Summer Blu-ray - May 20, 2011
British distributors New Wave Films are set to release on Blu-ray Russian director Aleksei Popogrebsky's How I Ended This Summer (2010), starring Grigory Dobrygin and Sergei Puskepalis. Last year, the film won two Silver Bear Awards at the Berlin International ...
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