On a blisteringly cold night in the frozen isolated region of Siberia, a family travels across the countryside by van with their driver. On their way, they come across an elder seeking a ride, but the driver refuses to stop. This lack of empathy by the driver looms over all of them, as the strangers soon find themselves stranded in this hostile climate when their car unexpectedly dies. Part thriller, part poetic drama, Mikhail Lukachevsky's A White Day is a unique coming of age story full of spirituality that borders on supernatural. The structure of the film is compelling, jumping between this surivial situation the passengers find themselves in and flashbacks, that give insight into the dynamics of this family unit. The story centers around the son character, a boy who finds himself aliented by his father due to his lack of masculinity. Raised by his mother, he is a more gentle human-being which his father perceives as a slight of his character. With exquisite cinematography, A White Day deconstructs the idea of masculinity, showing a boy who is forced to grow up fast in a survival situation. As things grow more and more desperate, A White Day exquisitely captures how the mind becomes unreliable in times of desperation, taking on a spirutal element, as it paints a portrait of a man being forced to grow up fast. The final sequence involving an injured deer is a beautiful use of symbolism, capturing how this young boy has been mentally wounded and tramatized by what has happened to him, but he is still alive. While some of the family drama ends up feeling superfluous, this surivival-based coming of age story is a unique, and fascinating film.
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