How I Ended This Summer

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title How I Ended This Summer
(TV: Mein Sommer mit Sergej)
Original title Как я провёл этим летом
Country of production Russia
original language Russian
Publishing year 2010
length 124 minutes
Director Alexei Popogrebski
script Alexei Popogrebski
production Roman Borisevich
music Dmitri Katchanov
camera Pavel Kostomarov
cut Ivan Lebedev

How I Ended This Summer ( Russian Как я провёл этим летом / Kak ja prowjol etim letom; German TV title: Mein Sommer mit Sergej ) is a feature film by Russian director Alexei Popogrebski from 2010. The psychological thriller is about a young student who Spends summer together with an experienced but lonely meteorologist at a small research station in the Arctic Ocean .

The film premiered in competition at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival and opened in Russian cinemas on April 1, 2010. The cinema release in German-speaking countries was on September 1, 2011.

History of origin

In How I Ended This Summer is the third feature film by Alexei Popogrebsky, for which he also wrote the screenplay. The filmmaker was inspired by Nikolai Pinegin's diaries , which he read as a 14-year-old. Pinegin had accompanied Georgi Sedov on his tragically ending polar expedition (1912–1914). Popogrebski was fascinated by the unusual conception of time and space that prevail at the North Pole .

The psychological thriller was filmed in Chukotka on the East Siberian Sea near Tschaun Bay . The location was the former polar station Valkarei there. Popogrebski entrusted one of the two main roles to Sergei Puskepalis . The filmmaker had already worked with the well-known Russian theater director on his previous feature film Prostyje veschtschi (2007). For the 24-year-old Grigori Dobrygin it was only the second feature film after Chernaya Molnija (2009). Roman Borissewitsch and his film company Koktebel produced How I Ended This Summer , as well as Popogrebski's two previous film projects.


After finishing university, the young Pawel completed a three-month internship on a small research island in the Arctic Sea. In the dilapidated weather station, the skinny student meets the older, bear-like Sergei. The experienced meteorologist has spent several years on the island and has become a grumpy loner. He lets Pavel do the talking and at every opportunity lets him feel that he is not welcome. The work is monotonous: the two of them have to transmit the measured weather data to the mainland by radio every three hours. No shift has been missed since 1936, explains Sergei.

The men slowly learn to get along with each other and the stay is coming to an end. Sergei looks with concern at his imminent return to the mainland, where a wife and son await him. When Sergei decides one day to fish for arctic char in a nearby lagoon , which he wants to smoke for his wife, Pavel is left alone. He then sees the weather station as a big adventure playground, hops over rusty tin barrels, passes the time with first-person shooters and neglects the weather records. Then he received a radio message from the mainland stating that Sergei's family had died in a serious accident. A ship is supposed to come and get the meteorologist from the island. Pavel does not dare to bring the bad news to Sergei, who tends to be irascible. He does everything possible to hide the report from him and hopes for the arrival of the ship, which could absolve him of his duty. But the ship gets stuck in the ice.

When Sergei learns of the tragedy several days later, there is only hatred between the two men. The anxious Pawel becomes paranoid and even tries to poison the older man with smoked fish that he had previously contaminated with the station's own nuclear battery . When the rescue ship finally reaches the station, Sergei has already decided to stay on the island.


Some of the German-speaking critics confirmed that the film got the bears rightly at the Berlinale. They called the work “powerful in images” and its pictures spectacular, impressive or “of archaic force”. They create "the bridge between impressive natural panoramas and landscapes of the soul so well that attacking polar bears appear as strong as the nervously twitching corner of Grigori Dobrygin's mouth". The two actors are gripping, their play "sharply profiled" and they "master the whole range from vulnerability to hardness". Due to the calculated structure, however, they were given little room for maneuver, and the character Sergej was not always coherent because it was subject to dramaturgical necessities. If most of the critics considered the narrative to be “concentrated”, “gripping” or “captivating”, the Spiegel reviewers explicitly set themselves apart from their colleagues by saying that the film was deadly boring.

A "secular [s] psychological drama" called the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the movie, "until its spiritual roots Dostoyevsky and other Russian seekers of God go back." The reason that the figures are not insignificant in front of the backdrop of the film, saw epd FIlm in his “Cross psychology and a tendency to subtle comedy on the edge of the camp crash.” The story has its funny moments; Despite the escalation, the film retains its laconic quality and “never turns into a thriller or drama.” For the Tages-Anzeiger , the film was “a kind of thriller”, with an excellently designed sound track. "It is an independent commentary on the mental operational disorders." The film-dienst went into the work in detail and classified it as a thriller. Popogrebsky draws “with his cool, dense polar thriller an intense picture of being at the mercy, distrust and paranoia in an extreme environment.” The style says: “The web of misunderstandings, speechlessness and stupid coincidences that Popogrebsky has about his protagonists is cleverly and closely woven throws. With subtle means and only sparse dialogue, he describes how Pavel's immaturity and shame gradually turn into fear and hatred. The boy's panic, which leads straight to the catastrophe, is carried over to the viewer, but one of the qualities of the film is that it repeatedly questions Pavel's tunnel perspective. "

Review mirror


  • Cinema No. 9/2011, p. 58, short review not signed: How I Ended This Summer
  • epd Film No. 9/2011, p. 47, by Andreas Busche: How I Ended This Summer
  • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , September 3, 2011, p. 37, short review drawn by “hjr.”: Arctic cold
  • Die Presse , February 22, 2010, Berlinale report by Markus Keuschnigg: Honey with the bears: Turkish Berlinale victory
  • Tages-Anzeiger , January 26, 2012, Züritipp p. 6, by Pascal Blum: At the end of the world
  • Die Zeit , February 21, 2010, Berlinale short review by Carolin Ströbele: The Festival of Darkness

Rather positive

  • film-dienst No. 18/2011, pp. 30–31, by Jens Hinrichsen: How I Ended This Summer


  • Der Spiegel , Kulturspiegel No. 9/2011, short review by Daniel Sander: The nicest minor matter


Grigori Dobrygin and Sergei Puskepalis won the Best Actor Award of the 60th Film Festival Berlin. The camera work by Pawel Kostomarow was also awarded the Silver Bear (“Outstanding artistic achievement”). In the same year Kostomarov received a nomination for the European Film Prize .

Further awards and nominations (selection)

Web links


  1. Release dates in the Internet Movie Database (accessed on May 2, 2010)
  2. Алексей Попогребский представит Россию на Берлинале ( Memento from June 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). On January 21, 2010 on
  3. Kak ya provel etim letom (2010) - Filming Locations . Retrieved October 15, 2015 from
  4. ^ Theodore Schwinke: The Other Russian Cinema ( Memento June 12, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). On June 7, 2010 on
  5. VALKARKAI . Retrieved October 15, 2015 from
  6. Data sheet: Alexej Popogrebski - KAK YA PROVEL ETIM LETOM . Retrieved from on June 13, 2015 (PDF, approx. 680 kB)
  7. a b c Markus Keuschnigg: Honey with the bears: Turkish Berlinale victory . In: Die Presse , February 22, 2010
  8. a b Carolin Ströbele: The festival of darkness . In: Die Zeit , February 21, 2010
  9. a b c Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , September 3, 2011, p. 37: Arctic cold
  10. a b Andreas Busche: How I Ended This Summer . In: epd Film No. 9/2011, p. 47
  11. a b c d Pascal Blum: At the end of the world . In: Tages-Anzeiger , January 26, 2012, Züritipp p. 6
  12. a b Cinema No. 9/2011, p. 58: How I Ended This Summer
  13. a b Jens Hinrichsen: How I Ended This Summer . In: film-dienst No. 18/2011, pp. 30–31
  14. Daniel Sander: The nicest minor matter . In: Der Spiegel , Kulturspiegel No. 9/2011
  15. Online
  16. Online