Voskhozhdeniye / The Ascent -
(1977) Directed by Larisa Shepitko
Starring Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin
Larisa Shepitko. The same year Bowie released Low and Heroes. The Ascent. I wrote not to long ago that Whiteout should've been filmed in black and white, when you watch The Ascent you'll understand why. The contrast, the uneven contrast of that vast white, blank canvas that overwhelms whatever darkness is presented against it. The Ascent is very spiritual and subtle, where the film is heading remains elusive to prediction, however once arrived at, each fold of the film is a soothing unraveling like that of gauze from a healed wound. I noticed that the earlier scenes of the film have more white as they mainly take place on open fields covered in snow, while in later scenes, the snow is interrupted by trees, houses, later removed completely by a shed/holding cell. In fact, we do not see another shot of 90% snow on the screen after a certain point in the middle of the film. This is not a complaint. What the story seems to do is, as the settings darken, the true nature of the characters brighten to plain view and are revealed to us.
Why are Criterion Collection films so expensive? Its not just that they're expensive its that they tend to be the only available edition of most of those films. It becomes that you have no choice, though, one never knows what a clicking trip to amazon.com may have in store for a DVD collection.