Alex and Nica are young, in love and engaged to be married. The summer before their wedding, they are backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. The couple hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek, and the three set off into a stunning wilderness, a landscape that is both overwhelmingly open and frighteningly closed. Walking for hours, they trade anecdotes, play games to pass the time of moving through space. And then, a momentary misstep, a gesture that takes only two or three seconds, a gesture that’s over almost as soon as it begins. But once it is done, it can’t be undone. Once it is done, it threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and about themselves. All the while, they are not alone. They are always with the guide, who witnesses their every move. The film plays off the relationship between young travelers and the places they travel to, between guide and guided. But at heart, it is a love story — a tale about betrayal, both accidental and deliberate, about masculinity, failure and the ambiguities of forgiveness. Director Julia Loktev (Day Night Day Night) joins us to talk about her compelling and beautiful film.
“A strikingly successful piece of daring.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
“Marvelous! Stunningly shot… somehow manages to be both audacious and subtle: Awkward silences become deafening, and the spacious wilderness unsettles with a devastating claustrophobia.” – Aaron Hills, Village Voice
“Loktev’s staging of the crucial moment is expert; her look at the aftermath is poignant and nuanced, culminating in a nocturnal sequence that condenses a world of bitter and incommensurable experience into a single shot.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker