Seven Songs from the Tundra

Duration 90 mins
Production Year 2000
Language Versions Available Nenets and Russian dialogue with English subtitles.
Producer Jörn Donner Productions Helsinki.
Script Anastasia Lapsui
Director/Editor Markku Lehmuskallio and Anastasia Lapsui
Press reviews: This anthology, consisting of seven short stories, takes the viewers to the isolated land of the Nenets, who live, literary, at the top of the world. Fascinating and beautifully made. It’s the small details of Nenet life, captured in grainy B&W images, that fascinate in this strangely beautiful film. (Variety)

International Awards:
“Grand Prix du Jury – Meilleur Long Métrage Fiction”
International Film Festival in Créteil 2000 (France)

“Nordic Amanda Award – Best Feature Film”
Haugesund 2000 (Norway)

“Best European Feature Film Made in a Lesser Language”
Festival de cinéma de Douarnenez 2000 (France)

The Nenets are the people who inhabit the tundra in the far north of Russia.

Filmmakers Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lehmuskallio made several documentaries about the Nenets in the 1990s, but decided their new film SEVEN SONGS FROM THE THUNDRA, would be largely fictional.

The first story Sacrifice, depicts a chilly winter’s religious ceremony in which a reindeer is sacrificed to the Gods. Next, the Bride explores the traditional pre-Revolution ways of these people. A young girl is supposed to marry a rich man chosen by her widowed mother, but she prefers a local boy and elopes.

The next four stories deal with Soviet communism’s effect on the Nenets. Commissars arrive in the community, demanding the people conform to the new order. The Nenets have difficulty accepting Lenin as a kind of replacement god, and react angrily when their children are taken away to Russian-Soviet schools.