“Haulout”, from the United Kingdom”, has been nominated for best short documentary film at the upcoming 2023 Oscar awards.
Certainly, given the subject of walrus haulouts we could have stern warnings about global warming a la Greta Thunberg. Shrill and accusatorial becomes tiresome and numbing.
“Haulout” takes a quieter and perhaps more effective approach. I read nothing about this documentary before viewing it so I may have approached it differently. I am not going to spill the beans for you. I have perhaps already said too much.
The documentary starts with a man surveying the rough autumn seas in Chukotka in the Siberian Arctic. He is dressed in army fatigues and carries a rifle. He speaks into a device saying they have not yet arrived. What is he waiting for? A submarine? What is he up to? Add to this spectacular barren scenery. The suspense augments. The man is living in a miserable hut. The sea is crashing and the wind howling.
Then one morning he opens his door and we see some 95,000 walruses. An incredible sight. This congregation is referred to as a haulout. Huge grunting creatures crammed together as far as the eye can see. Eventually they leave back to the sea from whence they came. Carnage is left behind. Why? Why are there so many of these walruses? Watch and find out.
The cinematography and direction are by Evgenia and Maxim Arbugaev.
You can watch the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZf6K6v7tWA
For those in Toronto you can catch all five of the Oscar nominated documentary short films at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on 24February2023. Not only that but the theatre welcomes those who want to view the Oscar presentation on March 12 at 17:30 hrs for no charge. Now isn’t that a deal!
Check out their website at https://hotdocs.ca/
RKS 2023 Film Rating 94/100.