The Tundra Book

from Multimedia Library Collection:
Environmental Film Profiles (videos)

Vakhrushev, Aleksei. The Tundra Book. Moscow: High Latitudes Ltd, 2011. HD, 105 min.

In the magnificent landscape of Russia’s Arctic Circle on the Bering Strait, 72-year-old patriarch Vukvukai—also known as “Little Rock”— leads his indigenous family in caring for their herd of 14,000 reindeer. Living in isolation, the family depends on reindeer for everything. The Chukchi men dart this way and that, trying to corral the swirling hoard of deer that run and faint before them. Vukvukai’s life is inseparable from the beasts’. Even as he sacrifices deer for the colder months, he does so with a strong belief and respect for the spiritual traditions that have accompanied his culture. Yet whilst reindeer herding, children playing and families feasting together may seem like a wishful throwback to a simpler time, the film reminds us that Vukvukai’s culture and traditions are increasingly under threat as Chukchi children, one by one, are lost to modern influences. (Source: Adapted from Journeyman Pictures)

© 2011 Journeyman Pictures. Trailer used with permission.

This film is available at the Rachel Carson Center Library (RCC, 4th floor, Leopoldstrasse 11a, 80802 Munich) for on-site viewing only. For more information, please contact

About the Environmental Film Profiles collection

Further readings: 
  • Bruno, Andy. “Russian Environmental History: Directions and Potentials.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 8, no. 3 (2007): 635-50.
  • Gray, Patty A. The Predicament of Chukotka's Indigenous Movement: Post-Soviet Activism in the Russian Far North. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Weiner, Douglas R. A Little Corner of Freedom: Russian Nature Protection from Stalin to Gorbachëv. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.