EDGE, THE

DirectorAleksei Uchitel
CastVladimir Mashkov, Anjorka Strechel
ProducerKira Saksaganskaya
WriterAleksandr Gonorovsky
Release Date2011
SynopsisFusing steampunk aesthetics with selective fragments of Russian history, director Alexey Uchitel hurls his new love-laced war epic straight into post-apocalyptic territory. World War II is just an excuse to isolate a handful of exiles on the edge of snow-white Russia. Hostilities may have ceased, but daily life is still an everyday struggle in this post-war labor camp where, if you want to survive, you must pledge allegiance to the machine – a rusty monster of a train roaring its way through the Siberian countryside. The laborers provide coal for the train’s flaming innards, sacrificing the surrounding forest to its altar of steel. It looks and feels like a religious ritual. In this rogue community where the steam engine is god, machinist arrivals are bound to upset the well-calibrated balance, especially if the newcomer is a decorated war hero with a train fetish. A sudden shift of power strips the camp’s one-armed commander of his usual privileges and places the newcomer on top. But mystery lingers around the motivations behind the hero’s sudden arrival at camp. His medal collection is not the only memorabilia he picked up on the battleground; he suffers from debilitating migraines, riddled with macabre hallucinations. At the climax of a fit, the headaches reduce this Siberian tiger to a pile of whimpering flesh. As if fighting an internal dramatic struggle, "The Edge" refuses to settle for any one genre, shrugging off characterizations of thriller, melodrama, or even historical adventure in favour of its very own brand of mystical hedonism. Desire, like the atom, is explosive with creative force, as author Paul Vernon Buser once put it. And this film is certainly about to detonate.