The family portrayed in the film lives in the Kola peninsula, in the town of Montshegorsk. At the foot of the hill there is an enormous nickel collective combine, which drastically influences the lives of the town's 64,000 inhabitants. The combine is the most important employer in town. The family's father, Igor Maljukov, works in the most dangerous section of the plant.

The factory spews forth sulfur dioxide and heavy metals day and night. The air is hard to breathe. The berries and mushrooms in the forest are full of toxins, which have already entered the food chain, affecting the immune system and genetic structure of the population. At the edge of town, the trees are nothing but dead stumps, the soil is grey dust, and the air is a white mist, which tastes of blood.

The family in the film lead an ordinary middle-class life in their cosy two-bedroom apartment. Their eleven year old daughter, Katja Maljukova, goes to school and loves art. The mother, Natalia Maljukova, is a seamstress. The father receives extra wages for his dangerous work, and the family plans to purchase a silver-grey German car with the surplus money. With the car they could travel south every year to the seaside during their vacation, so that they could again work through the dark and dreary winter.

Like the other townspeople, the family Maljukov regularly visits the combine's sanatorium and spa, where they receive inhalation treatment and oxygen cocktails. There is exceptionally little oxygen in the air of the town. During aroma therapy they inhale the scent of pine trees and listen to relaxing music.

"White Sky" is not just a story about a town in northern Russia. It is a tale of modern values, of human dignity tied to work and productivity, and of our ability to accept environmental risks as an inevitable part of our way of life.

The film has been awarded the ex post quality support of the National Council for Cinema and it won the prize for best nordic documentary at Nordic Panorama ´98.

Crew
director, & script: Susanna Helke & Virpi Suutari
cinematographer: Tuomo Virtanen
sound designer: Olli Huhtanen

54 min, 35mm, 1.85, Dolby SR, color, Russian dialogue