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56 min, Russia, Russian, English subtitled; fiction & animation.

The River Okkervil

A man slips into his fantasy world when he hears the voice of an opera singer. When he discovers she is still alive, he gets obsessed by the thought of meeting her.

The River Okkervil
Dutch debut, shot entirely in the studio’s of Lenfilm in St. Petersburg. Fiction is mixed with animation (partly devised by Vera Taranova), which represents the romantic imagination of the central figure Simeonov. He is a 35-year-old bachelor who only sees his girlfriend Tamara occasionally. Simeonov’s reality is without much passion. In his imagagination he leads a exciting second life, especially thanks to an old record by the dinger Vera Vasilevna with the song ‘No, you are not the one I love so passionately’. When Simeonov hears that Vera is still alive, he decides to visit her. Imnagination and reality doesn’t match at all. His love for Vera falls into pieces, but by losing that other doors open.

Main Cast
Oleg Ochii as Simeonov
Irina Vasilenko as Tamara
Diana Minkowa as the young Vera
Svetlana Grigorjeva as the old Vera
Directors: Beatrijs Hulskes & Mirjam van Veelen
Production: Watch Out B.V., Hans Eksteen & Peter Jan Brouwer
Executive producer Lenfilm : Ravil Kamaletdinov
Photography: Anatoli Lapshov
Original Music: Oleg Nikolajewitsj Karawaitchuk
Sound editor: Alexander Grudzyev and Konstantin Zarin
Animator: Vera Taranova

The River Okkervil was made possible with financial support of: The Netherland Film Fund and Dutch TV, NOS.


Tatiana Tolstaya
The River Okkervil is after the same story by the Russian writer Tatiana Tolstaya. She established her fame in the 1980s as one of the most original voices in Russian fiction. Tatiana Tolstaya writes of ordinary people, but her complex style is far from conventional, relying on impressionistic detail, colorful images, irony, exclamations, and multilayered narrative techniques.
Tatiana Tolstaya was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) into a literary family. On her father’s side, she is the great-grandniece of Leo Tolstoy, her grandfather was the novelist Aleksei Tolstoy and grandmother the poet Natalia Krandievskaya. Mikhail Lozinsky, her maternal grandfather, was a translator.
Tolstaya’s first collection, Na zolotom kryltse sideli (1987), appeared in the book kiosks and was sold out immediately. One of the stories in Na zolotom kryltse sideli was The River Okkervil.

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