How I Ended this Summer is one of the more significant Russian arthouse films of recent years.
This tense drama tells the story of two men working alone on a polar research station on an island in the Arctic Ocean: the head, Sergei, and a young trainee, Pavel. Their assignment is soon coming to an end. Sergei is impatient to return to his family. Pavel, meanwhile, is disappointed that he did not experience half the adventures previous polar explorers had told him about.
While on the island, an unstable radio connection is all the two men have to communicate with the outside world. One day while Sergei is out, Pavel receives a message that he would rather not hear. He does not know what to do with the terrible news, and so decides to just wait for the ship to arrive and carry them home. However, their transport is delayed.
As the two men are left alone together longer than either of them expected and hoped for, they will have to decide whose life is more important: their own or a friend’s. All the while, they will find themselves strangled by circumstance and their own actions.
Followers of arthouse and indie cinema will no doubt draw parallels between the plot of How I Ended this Summer and the 2019 film starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse (available on Prime Video). There are for sure many similarities. If you enjoy one, you will absolutely appreciate the other.