Margarita, the highborn head of a matriarchal family, faces multiple calamities as she rules an expansive area of land in the North Pole. The wind has changed too early and is blowing fateful gusts from the north. Her son and primary heir suffers the death of his fiancée, but soon takes an interest in her sister. The family repeatedly splits up and always reunites for New Year’s Eve dinner. Margarita hopes that the magical thirteenth hour will break the curse of this eternal cycle. Without speaking her dream out loud, Margarita wishes for them all to find happiness, experience love, and for the wind to die down.
Russian cult actress, screenwriter and director Renata Litvinova’s eccentric historical stylisations are often compared to Kira Muratova and Rustam Khamdamov. This film, which played in the main competition at the Rotterdam Film Festival, combines theatrical conditionality with the poetic language of centuries past, swaggering extravagance with cinematographic precision. It is a surreal and baroque chronicle of a family over the course of three decades with Litvinova herself at the centre who at the same time embodies a vamp, an archetypal mother and an aristocrat. The fate of Margarita is inextricable from that of her family’s and the saga plays out against a soundscape composed by musician Zemfira.