The Whaler Boy

Directed by Philipp Yuryev
Film Movement
93 Minutes
Russia, Poland, Belgium
Russian, English
Coming of Age, Drama
Not Rated
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15-year-old Leshka lives in an isolated village on the Bering Strait. Like most men where he lives, he is a whale hunter. When internet arrives in the village, Leshka becomes infatuated with a webcam model from America - so far away and yet almost close enough to see across the waters of the Strait. Coming of age in the male-dominated whaling community, Leshka's encounter with this mysterious woman awakens in him a desire to find love outside of the confines of his tiny world. He becomes determined to meet her in real life, setting forth on a dangerous adventure across the raging waters of the sea. Featuring stunning photography of the dramatic landscape, and punctuated by off-kilter humor, "there’s an almost fable-like simplicity to this atmospheric coming of age story" (Screen Daily) about the division between two worlds.


  • Vladimir Onokhov
  • Kristina Asmus
  • Arieh Worthalter
DVD Features

Bonus Short Film
Before the Typhoon Comes
Director Chen Yun
Chinese with English subtitles
15 minutes

As a young man goes for a swim in the ocean before an encroaching storm, he recalls bittersweet memories of his childhood and now aging father.

Sound: 5.1 Surround & 2.0 Stereo

Discs: 1

  • Highest Rating
    "There’s an almost fable-like simplicity to this atmospheric coming of age story. The film’s unfamiliar backdrop is captured vividly and intimately...."
    Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
  • Highest Rating
    "[A] brilliant premise for a movie and Yuryev delivers on that promise big time. His screenplay is minutely observant, unafraid to explore various themes and truly original. First-time actor Onokhov is a stunner. The two cinematographers Mikhail Khursevich and Yakov Mironichev are also making their feature debut with this film and their work is equally astounding. By capturing the endless expanse and the untouched ancient appeal of Chukotka in wide angles and naturalistic light, they’ve created visual poetry that will be hard to forget."
    Zhuo-Ning Su, Awards Daily
  • Highest Rating
    "The film is a vivid rumination on the fuzzy border between fantasy and reality."
    William Repass, Slant Magazine
  • Highest Rating
    "The cast is terrific. But, the greatest asset to The Whaler Boy is the cinematography by Mikhail Khursevich and Yakov Mironichev. The film is a true work of art, as the visuals are grand and fuel the emotional core of the protagonist’s journey. Every frame is gorgeous, from the amazing at sea shots of whale hunting to the landscape swallowing Leshka as he treks toward his destiny. When coupled with Krzysztof A. Janczak’s stirring score, the film proves to be a true auditory and ocular sensation."
    Bobby LePire, Film Threat
  • Highest Rating
    "A potent coming-of-age drama with a striking, lyrical edge."
    Jessica Kiang, Variety
  • Highest Rating
    "The Whaler Boy is a film about finding our place in the world, universal in its portrayal of the turbulence of adolescence with its first loves, jealousies and yearning for escape, but unique for the place in which it’s set, half-way between two continents, with America on the one side and Russia on the other, the past on one side and the future on the other. "
    Vittoria Scarpa, Cineuropa
  • Highest Rating
    "The Whaler Boy is a quietly absorbing story from a part of the world that’s rarely seen on screen."
    Oliver Johnston, The Upcoming
  • Highest Rating
    "[A] delicately unusual and visually resplendent ... stark but richly satisfying feature."
    Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia
  • Highest Rating
    "The Whaler Boy is an intimate and immersive coming of age story... entrancing."
    Katie Garwood, The Slice
  • Highest Rating
    "The Whaler Boy is a tonally complex work, a troubling character study that incorporates elements of drama, comedy, fantasy, documentary, and even Lynchian horror."
    Andrew Wyatt, Cinema St. Louis
  • Highest Rating
    "[A] masterful cinematic mix that provides focus on the timely teen dialogue topics of social media, adolescent sexuality, and self-discovery. "
    Sabrina McFarland, Common Sense Media
  • Highest Rating
    "Observational and thought-provoking, it is a stunning and chilling coming of age tale, very touching and increasingly suspenseful."
    Roger Costa, Brazilian Press
  • Highest Rating
    "Haunting and mystical...."
    Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

Awards & Recognition

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