A widowed aeronautics engineer, who has lost his job, travels with his son hopping freight trains from Moscow to Koktebel, a town by the Black Sea, to start a new life with the father’s sister. After they are stopped by a train guard, they continue their travel on foot. The father battles against his alcohol addiction and the son is fascinated with the idea of flight. One rainy day an old man accepts them in his house in return for the repair of the roof. The father gives in to the alcohol offered by the old man, who in a drunken brawl accuses him of stealing money and shoots him. A young female village doctor takes care of him and a romantic relationship between the two ensues. The father feels reluctant to continue the journey. The son leaves alone and a truck driver gives him a ride to Koktebel. However, his aunt has left for the summer. –IMDb
Boris KHLEBNIKOV (1972, Moscow) studied biology for two years at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute before (at a second attempt) he was admitted to the VGIK. During his studies at this famous film academy he made, together with Aleksey Popogrebsky, a 20 minute short called Passing By (1994). His feature directing debut, Roads to Koktebel (2003), was also in collaboration with Popogrebsky. This film was awarded the special FIPRESCI debut prize at the 25th Moscow IFF in 2003. Free Floating is his second feature.
Mimokhod/Passing By (1994, short, co-dir) Cunning Frog (2001, short), Black Snow (2002, TV, 15 episodes), Koktebel/Roads to Koktebel (2003, co-dir), Svobodnoe plavanie/Free Floating (2006) —IFFR
Alexei Popogrebsky was born in 1972 in Moscow. He graduated from the Psychology Department of Moscow State University. In 1997, he made his first documentary film, Mimokhod, (16mm, 21 min.), together with Boris Khlebnikov. He was the editor of Khlebnikov’s Tricky Frog (2000). – www.berlinale.de -
The first shot, the static looking at a tunnel/pipe set in a field made me think. It made me think how pretentious this film was. Those extra lingering seconds added to most scenes in Koktebel are just pure conceitedness on the part of the director. It's a turn-off. Be brave, make the cut. A quality film slow editing does not necessarily make.