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How I Ended This Summer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

How I Ended This Summer
How I Ended This Summer.jpg
Film poster
Directed byAlexei Popogrebski
Produced byRoman Borisevich
Aleksandr Kushaev
Written byAlexei Popogrebski
StarringGrigoriy Dobrygin
Sergei Puskepalis
Music byDmitry Katkhanov
CinematographyPavel Kostomarov
Edited byIvan Lebedev
TV Channel Russia
Koktebel Film Company
Distributed byChannel One Russia (Russia)
Release date
  • 17 February 2010 (2010-02-17) (Berlinale)
  • 1 April 2010 (2010-04-01) (Russia)
Running time
124 minutes

How I Ended This Summer (Russian: Как я провёл этим летом, translit. Kak ya provyol etim letom) is a 2010 Russian drama film directed by Alexei Popogrebski. It was critically acclaimed and garnered several awards and nominations; it was in the competition for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]


Meteorology student Pavel "Pasha" Danilov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) is spending the summer as an intern at an isolated, Soviet-era weather station on a remote Arctic island with only the older, experienced geophysicist Sergei Gulybin (Sergei Puskepalis) for company. Their sole job is to collect the weather and tide statistics every four hours on antiquated equipment, which they do in shifts, and report the readings by radio to the state meteorology center. Pasha is respectful and friendly, but he is afraid of the gruff Sergei, who is condescending to him, as he resents Pasha's temporary stay and is jealous that he knows how to operate their only computer.

Sergei takes the boat on an unauthorized fishing trip for a few days, and tells Pasha not to mention this. When the radio operator urgently requests to speak with Sergei, Pasha dutifully makes up excuses why he cannot come on the radio. Eventually Pasha is told to take down a radiogram that Sergei's wife and young son have been "gravely injured" in an accident, although it is apparent they've been killed. He is told that a ship Academic Obruchev is headed to get them and instructed to simply give Sergei the message and then "leave him alone." The sad news keeps Pasha awake, but when he does sleep he oversleeps; the data goes unrecorded. Seeing Sergei's boat, he hastily grabs the logbook to fill in fake numbers, and in doing so knocks his radiogram under the desk. When Sergei comes ashore with the trout, he is in a good mood. He tells Pasha a warm story about his wife craving salted trout during her pregnancy. Pasha starts to say something, but Sergei interrupts and teaches him how to properly fillet a fish.

Once inside, Sergei quickly figures out that the Pasha made up the numbers in the log and explodes in anger, dragging Pasha inside and berating him. He tells him that the station has been continuously occupied since 1935, and that no matter how bad the conditions got, never had anyone just faked the numbers out of sheer laziness, and that now all their work is worthless. He accuses Pasha of being a "tourist" in the Arctic in order to write a pointless essay, "How I Ended This Summer" (a play on the clichéd "How I Spent My Summer Vacation.") Sergei tells him an intimidating story about the time one geophysicist apparently killed the other due to their strained relationship.

The frightened Pasha does not tell Sergei about his family and temporarily sabotages the radio. When Sergei leaves to get more trout, Pasha is told that the ship is stuck in ice, but that a helicopter will instead come before the weather worsens. Pasha, carrying a rifle, heads to the lagoon to meet the helicopter. Upon hearing the rotors of the helicopter, Pasha lights a flare, but the pilot cannot see the flare due to heavy fog and flies away. Pasha then notices bear footprints. Following the tracks with his eyes, he sees the distinct white shape of a polar bear. He runs a short distance, and notices that the bear is chasing him. He flees, and begins to descend a steep embankment, and subsequently trips.

Pasha wakes up in Sergei's boat. As they disembark, Pasha tries to confess to Sergei that he needs to tell him something but Sergei ignores him. Pasha finally blurts out to Sergei that his family is dead. Sergei turns around and comes toward him, and Pasha, frightened and with an injured leg, falls to the ground. Thinking Sergei is going to attack him, Pasha fires at him but misses. He then gets up and runs away while Sergei picks up his gun and fires at him, and then keeps shooting into the air.

Pasha takes up residence in an old abandoned cabin. He wakes up to hear Sergei outside and hides, still afraid. Sergei calls to him and says he wants to talk to him. Sergei, who is carrying his rifle, hears Pasha step on something that makes a large cracking sound. Thinking Pasha fired at him, he fires his own rifle. The terrified Pasha runs away.

Pasha, freezing, huddles by an old isotope beacon to keep warm before realizing he has exposed himself to radiation. He sneaks into the cabin when Sergei is away and tries to contact the main station for help but cannot reach anyone. Starving, he steals Sergei's fish and nearly chokes to death on a fishbone. He screams and curses Sergei. He hangs fish up on the isotope beacon; he later sneaks back into the cabin and replaces Sergei's stash of fish with the contaminated fish.

One night Sergei sees the disheveled Pasha looking in the cabin window watching him eat the fish. He signals to Pasha to come inside, and then invites him to sit down and have some fish. He says the Academic Obruchev made it through the ice after all and will be there in three days. Pasha confesses that the fish has been contaminated. Sergei says nothing, but goes to vomit up the fish he has just eaten. Pasha checks the cupboard and sees Sergei has eaten all of the contaminated fish. Sergei returns and says only that they don't have to tell anyone what has happened. 3 days later, two men help secure the reactor to a helicopter, which then flies away to the Academic, which has reached the island.

Sergei tells Pasha he plans to stay on the island. Pasha threatens to tell what has happened to force Sergei to get medical help. Sergei grabs Pasha, and hugs him, telling him that he needs to stay on the island alone.[2]



The main location for filming was the Valkarkay polar station on the Chukchi Sea in Arctic Russia.[3]


How I Ended This Summer received positive reviews overall. How I Ended This Summer has an approval rating of 79% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 43 reviews, and an average rating of 6.47/10.[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

Critic Philip French of The Guardian praised the film, calling it a "tense allegory about modern Russia." He said Dobrygin and Puskepalis rightfully deserved their awards for their performances in the isolated setting, writing that "They almost seem like the last survivors in a post-apocalyptic world" and that he sees "Sergei and Pavel as representing different sides of Putin's Russia, one shaped by older traditional ways, the other struggling to discover a new set of values."[6] Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph gave it four stars, writing, that the director Popogrebsky "delivers a Tarkovskian parable about nuclear horror which also functions as a sustained and nail-biting psychological thriller."[7]



  1. ^ "60th Berlin International Film Festival: Programme". Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Review by Kirk Honeycutt". The Hollywood Reporter. 14 October 2010.
  3. ^ "How I Ended This Summer press book" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2012.
  4. ^ "How I Ended This Summer (2010)" – via
  5. ^ "How I Ended This Summer" – via
  6. ^ French, Philip (23 April 2011). "How I Ended This Summer – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  7. ^ Robey, Tim (21 April 2011). "How I Ended This Summer, review". tf. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Berlinale. Archive. Prize winners 2010".
  9. ^ "Golden Apricot International Film Festival". Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Festival award winners announced". Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  11. ^ "46th Chicago International Film Festival Award Winners Announced". Archived from the original on 12 May 2011.
  12. ^ "How I Ended This Summer Wins Top Golden Eagle Award". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 January 2021, at 13:58
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