Unclenching the Fists (2021)

Presented by MIFF

Unclenching the Fists

Razzhimaya Kulaki

Kira Kovalenko | Russia | 2021 | Unclassified (18+)

This event has ended and tickets are no longer available.








Group (10+)



Wed 10 Aug 2022

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Winner of the 2021 Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes, this drama from the producers of Beanpole travels to the dark heart of an unusual family.

In a small mining town nestled in the mountains of Russia’s North Ossetia, an overbearing father wields a suffocating influence over the lives of his children. His adult daughter, Ada, has been infantilised to the point where she wears a diaper, while her younger brother, Dakko, looks up to her in a needy way that suggests something untoward. When their older brother, Akim, returns from the neighbouring village where he now works, the family’s unspoken trauma unravels – and a desperate Ada plots her escape.

Produced by Alexander Rodnyansky and Sergey Melkumov (Beanpole, MIFF 2019; Loveless, MIFF 2017; Elena, MIFF 2011), the second feature from Russian filmmaker Kira Kovalenko is a tale of troubling family secrets, with a menacing atmosphere amplified by its vertiginous, often stunning shots of a location rarely seen on the big screen. Taking home the 2021 Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes alongside a slew of other awards, Unclenching the Fists is Kovalenko’s breakout film on the international stage.

A dark slice of neorealism with a palpable sense of claustrophobia.

The Wrap

Format: DCP
Language: Russian, Ossetian
Runtime: 97

Event duration

97 mins


Unclassified (18+)

Includes themes that some may find distressing. Viewer discretion is recommended.


Cinema 2, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Sqaure

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