‘The Tundra Book’, footsteps and hooves through Siberia

Vukvukai, age 72, in those rare moments when his family and herd do not require his attention

I have recently watched the documentary ‘The Tundra Book’, a breathing document charting a season in the life of Vukvukai, the patriarch of a Chukchi family, through the Siberian tundra. The Chukchi are reindeer-herders, which means that their existence revolves around their herd, moving from one place to another in search of constantly new pastures. The film documents the trials, excitement, fears, thrill and contentment of a large Chukchi family who may reinvent the idea of mobility for us, townspeople. Reindeer-herding, self-sufficiency, traditionalism, shamanism, engagement with the temptations of the modern world are just some of the icicles on the surface of this truly ethnographic endeavour. If you like winter, the Arctic, the unadulterated, desolate, pristine, howling poetry of the tundra and its indomitable inhabitants, then you must definitely watch this.

More on the documentary may be found on the National Geographic website.

A trailer may be watched here.

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