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The Pencil Image

The Pencil

Prostoi Karandash

Contemporary World Cinema | Panorama

Antonina, a smart and forceful artist (the radiant Nadezhda Gorelova), finds herself in a northern town in the taiga, home to a massive pencil-making factory, after her artist/activist husband, Sergei (Vladimir Mishukov), is imprisoned there. Resisting Sergei’s advice to go home to Saint Petersburg and forget about him, she gets a job teaching art at the local school. While making inroads with some students, she is actively opposed by 12-year-old bully Misha, the younger brother of a local gangster, and, more surprisingly, by the town residents and even her fellow teachers. As things escalate, Antonina comes to realize she is up against a society broken to the core.

Writer-director Natalya Nazarova counterpoints her biting critique of contemporary Russian society with the region’s luminous light and the faded beauty of its wooden buildings, structures that hint at better times in the past. And behind it all looms the forest and the huge factory that transforms the towering trees into the simple tool that an artist can use to express so much…

Canadian premiere
Director Icon Director
Natalya Nazarova

Nadezhda Gorelova, Vladimir Mishukov
Executive Producer Denis Kovalevskiy
Producer Denis Kovalevskiy, Maxim Dashkin, Anna Dziembowska, Boris Frumin
Cinematographer Andrey Naydenov
Editor Olga Proshkina, Pavel Kuprikov
Production Design Antonina Kraevskaja
Production Company Salt Studio, Victoria Films
Source Fortissimo Films
Russia 2019 93 min. Russian with English subtitles Official Website


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Nazarova, Natalya headshot


Natalya Nazarova is an award-winning Russian screenwriter and director, the author of numerous TV series and feature films for the new wave of Russian cinema, including Mermaid (directed by Anna Melikyan, 2007) and Betrayal (directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, 2012). Her 2012 feature debut as a director, The Daughter won FIPRESCI awards at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Warsaw IFF, best debut award at Kinotavr, and was selected for numerous international festivals.

The Daughter (2012)

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