Fatei and The Sea
- USA Santa Barbara IFF 2020 (Documentary Competition)
- Russia Flahertiana IDFF 2019 (National Competition)
- Russia Will Live Moscow FF 2019 (Competition)
- Russia Window to Europe FF 2019 (Coprodaction - Window to The World)
- Poland Krakow FF 2019 (Panorama of the Polish documentaries)
- Russia Message to Man IFF 2018 Three special prizes
The action in the film takes place in the Far East, on an uninhabited island called Rikord in the Peter the Great Gulf of the Sea of Japan. The lead character, called Fatei after his father, and his family have their own marine farm where they harvest delicacies from the sea. In amazing images of the underwater world and land-scapes of the Primorsky (Maritime) Territory of the Russian Far East, the film Fatei and the Sea tells the story of a little man whose life is inseparable from the big world around him.
The lead character, Fatei, is like a seal: physically clusmsy, with poor social skills, and capable tobehaving badly. Against the background of the extravagant lifestyle of the yacht owners, Fatei looks like a loser: his marine farm isn’t very successful and he can’t stop the poachers. His wife yells at him — for good cause — because he isn’t tough enough. But sometimes Fatei can be crude, and he can take out his irritation on his workers. That said, inside him is a kind of simple and soulful truth. In his heart, Fatei seems to have figured out the reason for living: when he recites his youthful poetry, when he feels compassion for nature, when he stares up at the night sky… Then nature’s grandeur unexpectedly begin to resonate within the soul of this small and comical man.
“The filming took place on an uninhabited island, and the whole crew lived in tents, like we were war correspondents, with no contact with civilization. Rikord Island is a nature preserve. There is no public transportation there. You can only get there on cruisers, yachts and speedboats. It’s more than ten kilometers from the nearest island and 40 kilometers to Vladivostok. This is where Russia begins, and everything that happens there is a kind of metaphor since it takes place at the edge of Russia.”
Mila Kudryashova, author of the idea, screenwriter, and creative producer
“The character of Fatei is a man who finds it difficult to change and accept something new. He is a man with a Soviet mentality. It’s easier for him to confront poachers straight on than to change his behavior. But at the very end, Fatei metaphorically takes a step toward his enemies.”
Alina Rudnitskaya, director
Fatei and the Sea is the poetic story of a family that lives on an otherwise uninhabited island in the Sea of Japan. They have a small marine farm and are simply trying to survive. The main characters’ most admirable quality is probably that they don’t give up. They try to deal with their problems as best as they can. Fatei is an old diver and a romantic who has not realized that there is an easier way to solve his problems: he can learn to speak with his enemies in the language of economics.”
Sergei Vinokurov, director
One of inspirations for the filmmakers was the Ernest Hemingway short novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Like the old Cuban fisherman Santiago, the main hero of the film, the old diver Fatei, dreams of “catching his big fish” — expanding his marine farm. But like the character in Hemingway’s story who couldn’t pull in the marlin by himself, Fatei can’t solve his problems on his own. To do that he’d need to change his attitude to the world around him. In the end, Fatei metaphorically tries to change inside and hides in the bottomless ocean.