Posted: 02/07/2011


How I Ended This Summer

by Del Harvey

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Barren, vast, treeless, cold, windy. That’s where the story is set. Two men, alone for long periods of time. No broadcast radio, no television. No one else around for hundreds of miles. Monitoring a nuclear stockpile several times a day. Keeping a sharp eye out for the only other wildlife around; a rogue polar bear hungry for any type of meat available, whether fish, rodent, or man. Only each other to talk to. Only there are too many differences, so they don’t talk openly. Their relationship borders on tenuous for fear of becoming volatile. And with nothing else to focus on, that is exactly what happens.

On a desolate island in the Arctic Circle, two men work at a small meteorological station, taking readings from their radioactive surroundings. Sergei is a gruff professional in his fifties and he takes his job very seriously. His new partner is the bright-eyed college grad Pavel who retreats to his MP3 player and video games to avoid Sergei’s imposing presence.

One day while Sergei is out, inexperienced Pavel receives terrible news for Sergei from HQ. Intimidated, Pavel can’t bring himself to disclose the information. When the truth is finally revealed, the consequences explode against a chilling backdrop of thick fog, sharp rocks, and the merciless Arctic Sea.

What happens next is horrific beyond belief, but not unsurprising. And I don’t mean horrific in the slasher movie sense. This is the kind of horror which occurs when humans are pushed to their limits and find themselves making the simplest of mistakes, which wind up having the gravest of consequences.

How I Ended This Summer is one of those films you will not soon forget, it is that good.

The film opened at New York’s Lincoln Plaza Cinema on Friday, February 4th, followed by a limited national theatrical release. It is available on DVD now from Film Movement here. Included on the disc is the short film FIRST DAY OF PEACE by Mirko Rucnov.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.

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