Woman and the Glacier is a near-wordless evocation of self-imposed solitude in the name of nature. A Lithuanian woman has been living in the Tian Shian mountain range in Kazakhstan for the past three decades, away from all civilisation save for her dog and cat (whose playful exchanges are heart-meltingly adorable). As a glaciologist, she has been studying the climate, and her day-to-day life consists of performing the minute rituals of her career. She is surrounded by imposing majesty, and director Audrius Stonys does an excellent job of capturing her environment. Indeed, some of the shots hold a certain splendour that could never be recreated any other way.
Unfortunately, the woman is intensely private, and to honour her wishes, Stonys makes no effort to open her up to us. We never learn anything about her life, what she does (or, at least, the details of what she does), or why she likes keeping herself away from society. She remains an enigma from beginning to end, and I guess you have to admire that. It is frustrating when you want to walk away with something, and instead know as much as you did before going into the film.
The dog and cat, though. They’re stars in the making.