A mining village somewhere in Russia. Somewhat forgotten, left behind. Most people resort to double moral standards, shady deals, to improve their grim lot, or just to survive economic hardship.
40+ Katya is the local librarian. She steals books from the library and sells them on passing trains. She is highly educated, but for some untold reason, seems reconciled with her depression and loneliness, though she aspires to meet someone, a man, who will help her carry her burden. The man she has been waiting for does eventually show up. He is an outcast, also with double morals and things to hide, but that seems to suit her fine, provided he accepts to be hers. The outcast soon gets into trouble with some local men, and Katya's short-lived happiness is threatened.
The place and its characters seem like a dead end. Lost souls who do not know who they are, suspended in time, lacking purpose, in a dead village. Existential nightmares, social problems, loneliness, lack of capacity or will to communicate. People not finding their own voice. When, on two occasions, two different characters in the film say to Katya "I can't go on living like this", she coldly replies something like "Well, don't, then", meaning suicide may be a reasonable option.
Sadness, depression, brilliantly played by Natalja Negoda, which in itself makes the film worth watching. Yet another tough, bleak, dark Russian film. If you are in the right mood, you may appreciate it to some extent, like I did.
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