Beyun
a film by Graziano Chiscuzzu and Federico Dallai
production 5e6

ITALY | 50′ | COLOR | DCP | DOCUMENTARY | 2020

Synopsis

Beyun is a documentary film project about Evenki people, a nomadic shamanic minority of reindeer people living in the steps of Siberia. Their existence is caught between two ‘imaginarium,’ the contemporary one of the global economy, and the one of the magic, of the divinatory, of the ‘daily fantastic’ of a shamanic society. A conflict at a level of metaphors, a daily struggle to define oneself.
Beyun in Evenki language means a non-tamed reindeer, an erratic phenomenology of nature. Beyun is the exception, the lynchpin of the rituality, the sense of the cycle.

Long Synopsis

Beyun is a documentary film project about the indigenous people of Yakutia region in Russia, the Evenki, a nomadic shamanic society of reindeer herders. We follow a path between Yakutsk and Nierjungri. It is the land known as taiga, extremely cold and humid, home of the Evenki people.

We meet Alena Gerasimova the ambassador of the Association of World
Reindeer Herders. She was born and raised there, but she went to Saint Petersburg to study. Today she returns to visit her family and we observe their life as they go through the daily routine.

The Shaman is at the center of the society, a figure that guides and links life to the beyond. Through rare insight, we are introduced to the methapors, images, rituals and tales present in the Evenki’s imaginarium. We are introduced to another way to consider time and space.

At times we notice the endless plains are abruptly interrupted by pipelines,
imposing metal structures dominating the horizon. In extremely cold environments as the taiga, they have to be super-elevated to avoid freezing. This invasive practice has fragmented the territory, interrupting routes of exchanges and rituals.

It is only one example of how in the last fifteen years, big metallurgic and extractive companies such as Gasprom looking for gas, minerals, diamonds, have systematically plundered and occupied the land of these indigenous people.

As we reach Nierjungri more and more Evenki people join the Family of Alena, it is “Den Olenevoda” the annual gathering of reindeer herders. We observe the rituals and celebration.

Against the ever invasive presence of companies looking to dig out the riches of the earth, against a society more and more removed from ancient belief systems, the Evenki people are fighting to keep their culture. Their belief system and
mythological materials offer practical solutions of resistance.

 

 

About Evenki people

The Evenki are a minority population of the Russian Federation, they occupy
a portion of land spread from the Sea of Okhotsk to the South East Siberia, but their denser social aggregations are to be found in Yakutia.
They are Reindeer herders, commonly referred as Reindeer People.
Reindeer herding is a millenary economical social and cultural practice present in 9 different countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Mongolia, Greenland, China, Canada, Alaska and a small herd in Scotland).
The traditional Evenki economy was a mix of pastoralism, fishing, and hunting.
The Evenki, like most nomadic, pastoral, and subsistence agrarian peoples, spend most of their lives in very close contact with nature and therefore developed an animist system of belief based on rituals, respect for nature and the perception of nature as a living being.
Although nominally Christianized in the 18th century, the Evenki people maintain an animistic vision of the world tied to shamanism until today.

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