|8:20 p.m.||Wild Field|
Mikhail Kalatozishvili (Russia, 2008)
(Dikoe pole). On a remote medical outpost amid the mysterious and sublime beauty of the Kazakh steppes, a young doctor struggles to treat whatever wounded patients the wild winds blow in. All alone, and with far less than the bare minimum of medical tools and supplies, the detached and resourceful Mitya gamely and gracefully responds to a series of increasingly odd medical emergencies. Though the ranch-like clinic, vast empty landscapes, and casually intense characters give Mikhail Kalatozishvili’s film a hint of the American Western, Wild Field is decidedly Russian at heart, dark and existential, penetrating yet distant, and hilarious and tragic simultaneously. Gorgeously filmed and well acted, Wild Field has a Godot-like quality, as Mitya and his damaged patients struggle for meaning while battling the harsh natural elements in the deep mysterious silence of the steppes, a struggle that often forces them to confront the absurdity of their circumstances and the folly of their human dramas. Whether healing a sick cow that ate a tablecloth, undertaking emergency surgery using a rock for a bed, or being forced to gather local herbs as medicine since the government is unwilling or unable to provide him with supplies, Mitya maintains his cool and honors the serious intent of his medical mission. Wild Field is a powerful reminder that, though modern life is dominated by the distraction of nonstop media streams and our minds are hidden away in cocoons of technology, we cannot divorce ourselves from the essential truths of our existence. Life is still raw, wild, and uncertain, alternately terrifying and enigmatically beautiful.
• Written by Piotr Lutsik, Alexey Samoriadov. Photographed by Piotr Dukhovskoy. With Oleg Dolin, Daniela Stoyanovich, Yuri Stepanov, Roman Madianov. (104 mins)