IDFA Review: Ice Under His Feet

The Russian invasion and bombardment of Ukraine has brought home just how powerful Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is in his homeland. The former KGB analyst has been in power now, one way or another, for over twenty years. He’s established an iron grip on the country, making a bargain with oligarchs and suppressing any opposition through force. While he started out as a moderniser, the motherland is now as authoritarian as ever.

Anyone looking in from the outside could be mistaken in thinking that Russians universally support Putin. While there is some truth in that, there’s a lot more to it. While he’s popular in rural areas, in places like Saint Petersburg or Moscow, where more liberal ideas hold sway, things are more complex. Ice Under His Feet follows Masha and Ilya, who have only really known one head of state, as they fight for their freedoms.

Ice Under His Feet looks at protest within Russia, focussing on the role younger people are playing in fuelling dissent and trying to educate ordinary citizens. Over 100,000 people have been detained since the despot came to power, so choosing to ‘raise your voice’ isn’t an easy decision to make. Kirill Nenashev’s film, which was shot in the years before the full invasion of Ukraine, offers a sliver of hope for the future.

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