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In 1946, a soldier fathers a child then dies before its birth. Jump to 1952: on a train, the child and his mother meet a handsome soldier who makes a play for her. She accepts. Posing as a married family, the soldier finds them a rooming house where he becomes everyone's favorite through his good looks and generosity. Meanwhile he gives the boy, Sanya, lessons in life: to fight back, to win at all costs. The child's mother, Katya, is head-over-heels in love with Tolyan, the soldier, but the relationship becomes rocky when Tolyan's true plans for the rooming house become clear. It starts them on a treadmill of flight that risks Katya's life, Tolyan's liberty, and Sanya's trust. Written by
Sanya - 48 Years Old:
I was born right after the war, in 1946. My mother was going to the village where her relatives lived and gave birth to me right on the road. I never saw my father. He was covered with wounds when he returned from the war and died six months before I was born, but throughtout my childhood I kept thinking of him, trying to imagine him.
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For those of us who are interested in Russian life and film this is a must see. It provides an inside view of life in Stalinist Russia where people are forced to live in communal apartments and struggle to survive. A single mother with a young son becomes enamoured of a man she believes to be a soldier. He turns out to be a burglar preying on the unfortunate. The story is told by the son who first hates, then loves, then hates the thief. Amazingly, the viewer experiences the same shifting emotions. This is a film that will involve you and really play on your emotions. It's as though Dostoyevsky wrote the screenplay. No stereotypes or two-dimensional characters here but complex individuals who will draw you into their fear and pain. It is an unforgettable film; well worth seeking out!
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