During summer and autumn, when the film was shot, the houses get covered with sand that constantly is blown in by the wind. What used to be a prosperous fishing town is now a quiet desert, but both young and old people are still living there, and even want to stay. “What keeps us here?” a young man asks, and answers his own question by saying, “Somehow we don’t feel like leaving”.One reason for that is the universal need to feel that you belong somewhere, the love for one’s birthplace. It is the incredible nature and, for some, the longing for seclusion. As the film advances it draws us into this exceptional landscape and the lives of its inhabitants. The special beauty is stunningly captured by the camera: The formations in the sand, constantly shifting in the blowing wind, the sea and the abandoned fishing boats like sculptures on the beach.
The open vistas give the inhabitants a feeling of freedom, even if they are unable to leave. One of the characters, a young woman, settled down here to ‘find herself’ and the meaning of life. It is certainly a good place to philosophize, since there is little to disturb you – except the sand.
One more pragmatic reason for staying is also brought up by one of the inhabitants: the fact that many Russian people are not paid their wages. In the city you are lost without money,but in Shoina it’s easier to survive; you can catch fish or hunt wild geese.
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