- Habitat, Victor SEMENIUK, Russia, 1986, color, DCP, 26'
This fascinating 1986 collage illustrates how the hardships of a Russian landscape don’t stop humans from making their home there. A snowbound home gets dug out, a truck ploughs its way through the white landscape, a man struggles through tons of snow with a tent that blew off. At the alien-looking base camp, dozens of tubular, steel containers are home to the men who work there. While snowdrifts accumulate against their steel cocoon, they drink hot tea between heavily blanketed bunk beds. Helicopter shots underline the immensity of the snowfield, which is home to large herds of reindeer and warmly wrapped nomads. Oil rigs rise on the horizon in the midst of the fairy-tale landscape; a giant frigate passes through grinding ice. Marching music and mysterious electronic sounds accompany this commentary-free film that underlines the contrast between the industrial invasion and nature’s imposing forces. The permanently gray skies and the omnipresent snow make Habitat seem black-and-white: only indoors does color reappear. A snowball fight reveals a white world that also offers its inhabitants joy.