Siberia has recently been on my mind. I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps I am longing for some real exploration, or for a really long trip by train. I've noticed that recently, there has been an interest in Siberia sort of growing in the media. It's a place so vast and so remote that I know almost nothing about it, save the bits and pieces I've learned from reading about others' experiences there. Basically, I am developing a minor fascination with the place. If you are curious, here are two places to start getting familiar.

A little while back I made a quick mention of the movie Transsiberian on this blog. With an Oscar-worthy cast (Sir Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Woody Harrelson) and some excellent breakthrough performances (Kate Mara as Abby, image below), this film literally takes you on a journey through Siberia on the Transsiberian Railway.

The film has everything you'd expect from a Western depiction of Russia: corrupt officials, murder, torture, and a lot of winter. But the other unexpected elements in this film are what really drew me in. For example, there are scenes shot on location at an old, abandoned church in the country. For someone like me who is always drawn to films with themes of urban solitude, this film was memorable for captivating me with the opposite, it's desolate depictions of the largest expanse in the world.

Do you read The New Yorker? If not, you should. I am lucky that I grew up in a house where a year's worth of issues were scattered in almost every room for reading, granted, but there really is no other publication like it on the planet.

In late August, Ian Frazier published a two-part travel diary of a road trip through Siberia he took with two Russian friends, entitled "Travels in Siberia". Published in two consecutive issues, I was actually forced to read the second part before the first, as my dad had stolen taken the August 3rd issue and I couldn't find it. This did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Trust me, go to the library, look up the back issues, and read it. But, if you have a subscription and missed the story, here's the link to catch it online:


young-shields said...

that film sounds so good. and i've always had this strange obession with wanting to go to russia full stop/having a super long train trip.

theres something romantic about long train journies..

claire x

Logcabineer said...

you are spot on! That church by the frozen lake really made me tick as well. It reminded me alot of my alltime favourite moviescene in Fellinis Roma where they drill the subwaytunnel right into an ancient hidden roman house. Another amazing Siberian movie is Kurosawas 1975 Dersu Uzala.