Trees are everything. In a settlement near the Russian-Finnish border, a traditional family keeps shamanistic rituals alive. The children play in the same forest where photos nailed to trees remind us of Stalin's bloody repression. Spirituality and politics meet in this intuitive montage of poetic impressions, historical material, nature shots, family scenes and probing testimony.
Alternating between the enchantment of a child’s gaze and critical essay, this is the first of a two-part series dedicated to Karelia. The traumatic history of this region, which once belonged to Sweden, still resounds. The father points to the massacre by Ivan the Terrible in 1570. A gnarled block of wood is reminiscent of Pan, god of nature, and panic. But there's also the long arm of Putin. The daughter of a historian, an activist who investigated mass graves for 20 years, describes how her father was arrested on the basis of a shady accusation.