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Dicing with Death: Siberia: The Land of Ice-People

In this acclaimed series, we journey on some of the world’s most dangerous routes and explore the lengths people go to in order to change their destinies.

Every year, Grigori and the inhabitants of Eiik in Siberia have to face the same problem. In summer their village is inaccessible to cars because it is surrounded by miles of swamp. This means their only source of supplies is airplane.

In winter, this all changes as the frost freezes the swamps solid and goods can be carried into Eiik by cars and vans. However, there is still no road! And so the great adventure begins for Grigori and the villagers. They must fetch food and heating fuel from Yakusk, 1,200 km across the taiga (or boreal forest) at -40 degrees celcius. In temperatures like this, a breakdown or a navigational error can be fatal. Grigori: “The last resort is to burn the car to keep warm and hope that somebody spots the smoke.”

The wintertime Siberian road takes many forms. Before the Lena freezes over completely, ancient ice-breakers drive through the ice to ferry trucks and cars across. When the ice becomes too thick for the ships, the huge Siberian river turns into a highway. But with all the traffic, holes are created, the cars get bogged down and without mutual assistance it’s impossible to continue one’s journey. The bravest drive at night, with no other illumination than their headlights. It’s not uncommon for drivers to get lost in the vast icy expanse. This extraordinary episode of Impossible Roads takes us deep into the harsh reality of Siberia. An extreme journey, in a frozen desert, where people fight to survive in a hostile wilderness…

PRODUCTION INFO

  • Year: 2019
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Toni Comiti Productions
  • Director: Philippe Lafaix
  • Available Versions: FRA
  • Country of production: France

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