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nhospitable at the best of times, the snow-covered mountainscapes of Eastern Anatolia constituted a fatal frontier for many war exiles after the battle of Sarikamish in 1915, and provides a canvas laced with beauty and threat for this bone-chilling survival yarn, the superb debut feature of Alphan Eşeli. Starting out with three characters – a refugee mother and daughter and their grizzled guide – the film traces their daunting trek across this barren terrain to safety, with the Russians encroaching and other stragglers, including a pair of wounded, frostbitten Ottoman soldiers, all orbiting the same burnt-out village they find in their path. Puncturing its aura of ghostly impasse with some shocking narrative reversals, and constantly prickling with the mutual dread of strangers in gruelling extremes, the movie stakes out hugely credible ground next to established Eastern Front war classics (In the Fog, Come and See) while remaining thoroughly its own beast. (Source: LFF programme)

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