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In winter the Arctic fishing settlement of Shoina is blanketed by polar night; in summer, endless windstorms cover the settlement in sand. This film is a metaphysical reflection about Russia: the role of the state, endless hardships, the freedom longed for by millions of Russians and their lingering, paradoxical reluctance to be free. The people of Shoina, and its eerie land and seascapes, are filmed with Tarkovskian lyricism and poetry.