The eastern Ukrainian town of Snezhnoje, which prospered during the Soviet era when miners there were spoiled with all kinds of privileges, now lives in poverty.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jura Sikanov ...
Himself
Julia Sikanova ...
Herself
Uljana Sikanova ...
Herself
Dima Opristsenko ...
Himself
Ljubov Sivohhina ...
Himself
Gennadi Vertela ...
Himself
Sergi Vlassik ...
Himself
Sasa Jassinski ...
Himself
Vadim Dõmov ...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ira ...
Herself
Kostja ...
Himself, unemployed coal miner
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Storyline

In the heart of a once thriving Ukrainian coal-mining region the town's desperate residents decided to start mining illegally; they excavate everywhere: under the basements of demolished buildings, in the leisure parks, as well as in their own vegetable gardens. The story focuses on the Sikanov family, which has three children. 15-year-old Yura is the head of the family working as a miner in the illegal pit. Most Yura wants to run his own cafe somewhere far from home, but the responsibility for the two sisters and looming economic crisis pushes his dreams in the distant future. Written by Anonymous

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Whatever you have imagined, prepare to be surprised

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Documentary | Drama

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22 April 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pit No 8  »

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A saddening documentary that only makes one realize how lucky one is.
2 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was a well-shot, well-made documentary--the poster for which may be deceiving. It's about three siblings left to fend for themselves after one of their gaurdians dies and their mother appears to drink herself to death, out of sight for much of the film. The two sisters and brother have only each other to rely on, the brother starting to work in what appear to be illegal mines in Ukraine (and this is a recent documentary!) at the age of 13 to support his two sisters (no masks on in this mine, or anything; I dread to think of the damage done to his young lungs).

It's difficult not to care about the fates of these three. The older sister often seems to crack under the stress, wanting to help a self- destructive mother, while overwhelmed with guilt and self-pity. The youngest sister has character, and her interactions with her brother are warm and amusing, while her brother has something very endearing about him, and seems to always try his best to remain positive. Odd as it may sound, he, at points, reminds me of Michael Cera.

(Spoilers coming)

What's most heart-breaking, to me, is when the oldest sister seems to give up on their life, and rejects the idea of supporting her two siblings, thereby escaping their poverty. She leaves them...And so the boy, who's always dreamt of getting out of this small town, now finds himself stuck there, albeit with one less person to look after, (Huge spoiler coming) until his last bit of nearby family-his younger sister-is taken away.

(Spoilers over)

These children are older now, and I'm not entirely sure that they're alive and well given the current situation in Ukraine, though they've had their hardships since the documentary's end. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget their faces and their story. It is one that sticks with those of us who've never had it so difficult...And it is one that opens one's eyes to what's going on.

Sometimes, in our modern age, it's easy to forget or be ignorant of some of the hardship and strife people in other countries (sometimes even in one's own) have to endure. A documentary like this puts it out into the open. I hope more people see this, and I hope these three are well, out of the bloody valley of death that Ukraine has become in the past few months, and that they may one day find each other again, and possibly forgive one another. I hope that they live on to find something better than what they've known.

This isn't like many documentaries I've seen, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. For those that don't speak in Russian, I haven't seen the dubbed/subbed (?) versions, but based on the reactions I've seen from non-Russian speakers, it has just as strong an impact.


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