- 1 hr 27 min
Taiga is a stunning documentary film that transports the audience to the remote wilderness of Siberia, Russia. Directed by Ulrike Ottinger, Taiga is a rich and immersive experience that combines breathtaking cinematography, captivating soundscapes, and compelling storytelling to create a profound meditation on humans' relationship with nature.
The film is divided into three parts, each exploring a different aspect of life in the Siberian taiga. The first part, titled "Taiga Symphony," begins with an extended sequence of the sun rising over the vast expanse of the taiga. We see misty forests, sparkling rivers, and snow-covered mountains as the camera slowly pans and zooms in on the details of the landscape. This opening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the film, emphasizing the beauty, complexity, and scale of the natural world.
As the film progresses, we meet a diverse cast of characters who live and work in the taiga. These include indigenous Evenki reindeer herders, Russian scientists studying the effects of climate change, and eccentric individuals who have chosen to live off the grid in the wilderness. Despite their different backgrounds and lifestyles, all of these people share a deep connection to the land and the animals that inhabit it.
One of the film's main strengths is its attention to detail. We see how the Evenki people use every part of the reindeer for food, clothing, and tools, and how they navigate the forest using traditional knowledge passed down through generations. We learn about the complex dynamics of predator and prey in the taiga, as wolves, bears, and lynx hunt for food while avoiding human settlements. And we witness the effects of climate change on the landscape, as melting permafrost leads to soil erosion and water pollution.
At the same time, the film is never didactic or overly preachy. Instead, it invites the viewer to simply observe and appreciate the world around them, and to consider their own place in the ecosystem. This is aided by the film's stunning cinematography, which captures everything from the shimmering scales of a fish to the swirling patterns of a snowdrift. The sound design is equally impressive, with the chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the howling of wolves immersing the viewer in the taiga's sensory landscape.
Another notable aspect of Taiga is its use of music and dance. Throughout the film, we see various musical performances and rituals, from traditional Evenki throat-singing to a group of Russian punk rockers performing in the middle of the forest. These moments add an element of whimsy and joy to the film, and help to balance out some of the more serious and contemplative scenes.
Overall, Taiga is an extraordinary cinematic achievement that deserves to be seen by anyone with an interest in nature, culture, or the human condition. It is a film that both informs and inspires, reminding us of the wonder and fragility of the natural world and urging us to think more deeply about our place within it. Whether you are a seasoned environmentalist or simply a lover of great cinema, Taiga is not to be missed.
Taiga is a 2017 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes.