In a post-apocalyptic world, a young soldier, hungry for battle, embeds himself in an isolated frontier post where men wait in vain for an enemy to strike from the north.
In an undefined post-apocalyptic future in an unnamed place, Luka, a young soldier, crosses desolate mountains northwards in search of the legendary outpost of Fort Kairos. Having barely survived his journey, he awakens in a miserable clinic. To his great dismay, he discovers that Fort Kairos is hardly the stuff of legend. It’s run-down, dysfunctional and lorded over by a High Command of eccentrics including a wooden- fingered Commander Gor, a blind General Kane and a bullish Sergeant Major Raf.
Craving combat and glory, Luka announces that he is a star sniper from a southern academy and is ready for battle. This impresses no one and he is assigned to the maintenance crew. The degrading routine begins and, soon enough, Luka learns the astonishing truth that none of the hardened men of Kairos have ever laid eyes on the enemy to the north.
At first, Luka wants to flee this bastion of absurdity with its excessive rules, rituals and punishments. But he falls under the spell of Kairos. He befriends Private Geronimo, a light-hearted prankster, and Second Lieutenant Konstantin, an ailing radar engineer obsessed with old books and cosmic dust. Luka proves his sniper skills and gets promoted to Hawk, the elite sentry. He strides through his days, armed and resplendent, bloated with airs of grandeur, until that fateful moment when he must prove his loyalty to Fort Kairos. He fails and their reality begins to unravel.
Inspired by Il deserto dei Tartari (‘The Tartar Steppe’) by Dino Buzzati All photos made by Jessica Woodworth during recces on location.