Aist (Igor Sergheyev), a paper mill engineer who never has married, is asked by his boss and friend Miron (Yuri Tsurilo) to accompany him on a delicate mission. Miron's beloved wife, Tanya (Yuliya Aug), has just died, and he wants to hold a private funeral in the traditional Merja style. Aist readily consents and, after helping him wash Tanya's huge body, they set off through the country in an SUV. Two caged birds, which will play an important role in shaping their destiny, accompany the men on their journey. They stop in a town to buy firewood, then, by the side of a melancholy sacred lake, the two men officiate at an archetypal ceremony. But their business is not finished. Aist, who narrates the yarn, says the Merjans are an expressionless people shaken by sudden passions. He describes some of their erotic folklore, including the habit of intertwining colored threads in the Merja bride's pubic hair or the tradition of reminiscing about intimate details of the dead person's conjugal life, so that the grief of mourning turns into tenderness.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alexey Fedorchenco

Written by: Denis Osokin

Produced by: Igor Mishin

Cinematography: Mikhail Krichman

Editing: Igor Khomskij

Production Design: Andrey Ponkratov

Original Score: Andrey Karasev

Cast: Igor Sergeyev, Yuriy Tsurilo, Victor Suhorukov, Yuliya Aug

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2011