A Moon of Nickel and Ice
In the icy Russian mining city of Norlisk, population 177,000, residents endure sub-zero temperatures and the weight of a dark history.
A Moon of Nickel and Ice: Once a Soviet labor camp in the 1930’s and 1940’s, tens of thousands of political prisoners died while extracting nickel ore from beneath the tundra. In this visually striking and haunting documentary, A Moon of Nickel and Ice, local residents—including a wry theater director, patriotic miners, cynical students and a rebellious historian—confront both past and present.
A Moon of Nickel and Ice opens with a miner who spent 28 years underground before moving topside. We learn that Norilsk is a closed-off city, a prison city. The first group of prisoners sent there all died. (“The eternal ice is their graveyard. Under the frozen earth they can finally move on.”)
The place is just as cheerful as it sounds. It doesn’t help that there is a poster of Vladimir Putin on the wall that says, “I see you. You are not working.”
Grim, grimmer, grimmest. In Russian, with subtitles.