The Whaler Boy

Directed by Philipp Yuryev
Film Movement
93 Minutes
Russia, Poland, Belgium
Russian, English
Coming of Age, Drama
Not Rated

15-year-old Leshka lives in an isolated village on the Bering Strait. Like most men where he lives, he is a whale hunter. When internet arrives in the village, Leshka becomes infatuated with a webcam model from America - so far away and yet almost close enough to see across the waters of the Strait. Coming of age in the male-dominated whaling community, Leshka's encounter with this mysterious woman awakens in him a desire to find love outside of the confines of his tiny world. He becomes determined to meet her in real life, setting forth on a dangerous adventure across the raging waters of the sea. Featuring stunning photography of the dramatic landscape, and punctuated by off-kilter humor, "there’s an almost fable-like simplicity to this atmospheric coming of age story" (Screen Daily) about the division between two worlds.

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  • "There’s an almost fable-like simplicity to this atmospheric coming of age story. The film’s unfamiliar backdrop is captured vividly and intimately...."
    Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
  • "[A] brilliant premise for a movie and Yuryev delivers on that promise big time. His screenplay is minutely observant, unafraid to explore various themes and truly original. First-time actor Onokhov is a stunner. The two cinematographers Mikhail Khursevich and Yakov Mironichev are also making their feature debut with this film and their work is equally astounding. By capturing the endless expanse and the untouched ancient appeal of Chukotka in wide angles and naturalistic light, they’ve created visual poetry that will be hard to forget."
    Zhuo-Ning Su, Awards Daily
  • "The film is a vivid rumination on the fuzzy border between fantasy and reality."
    William Repass, Slant Magazine
  • "The cast is terrific. But, the greatest asset to The Whaler Boy is the cinematography by Mikhail Khursevich and Yakov Mironichev. The film is a true work of art, as the visuals are grand and fuel the emotional core of the protagonist’s journey. Every frame is gorgeous, from the amazing at sea shots of whale hunting to the landscape swallowing Leshka as he treks toward his destiny. When coupled with Krzysztof A. Janczak’s stirring score, the film proves to be a true auditory and ocular sensation."
    Bobby LePire, Film Threat
  • "The Whaler Boy is a film about finding our place in the world, universal in its portrayal of the turbulence of adolescence with its first loves, jealousies and yearning for escape, but unique for the place in which it’s set, half-way between two continents, with America on the one side and Russia on the other, the past on one side and the future on the other. "
    Vittoria Scarpa, Cineuropa
  • "The Whaler Boy is a quietly absorbing story from a part of the world that’s rarely seen on screen."
    Oliver Johnston, The Upcoming
  • "[A] delicately unusual and visually resplendent ... stark but richly satisfying feature."
    Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia
  • "The Whaler Boy is an intimate and immersive coming of age story... entrancing."
    Katie Garwood, The Slice