Russia, 2008, 104 minutes
Sat, Apr 25 / 8:20 / PFA / WILD25P
Tue, Apr 28 / 6:15 / Kabuki / WILD28K
On a remote medical outpost amid the mysterious and sublime beauty of the Kazakh steppes, a young doctor struggles to treat whatever bizarre wounds the wild winds blow in. Working alone, and with far less than the minimum of medical instruments and supplies, the detached and resourceful Mitya gracefully responds to a series of increasingly odd medical emergencies. Although the ranch-like clinic, vast empty landscapes and casually intense characters give Mikhail Kalatozishvili’s film a hint of the American Western, Wild Field is decisively Russian at heart, dark and existential, penetrating yet distant and hilarious and tragic simultaneously. Gorgeously filmed and well acted, Wild Field has a Waiting for Godot–like quality, as Mitya and his damaged patients battle the harsh natural elements arising from the deeply mysterious silence of the steppes—a struggle that forces them to confront the absurdity of their circumstance and the folly of their human dramas. Throughout, Mitya maintains his cool and honors his medical mission, whether administering to a sick cow that ate a tablecloth, undertaking emergency surgery with only a rock for a surface or being forced to fall back on local herbs en lieu of modern medicines the government is unwilling or unable to provide. Wild Field is a powerful reminder that, however distracted modern life can get, we cannot divorce ourselves from some essential truths of our existence. Life is still raw, wild and uncertain, alternately terrifying and enigmatically beautiful.
Presented in association with the Russian American Cultural Foundation in co-operation with the Russian Center of San Francisco.