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Early 1930s. Peter is a ten-year-old boy in the midst of turbulent Soviet Ukraine. His father, an American engineer, is killed for obtaining secret documents about the repressions, which now are hidden in Peter's book. The boy flees from the police with a blind kobzar (Ukrainian folk minstrel), Ivan Kocherga. Ivan does everything to help his young guide to grow up and survive with a kind and clear soul that will not be hardened by what his eyes have seen. He tells his young guide elaborate stories that make him believe there can be a different reality from what he sees around him. We are challenged to admit the blind kobzar may see the world with greater clarity than those with perfect eyes. Written by
After creation of Soviet Union the cultures of all nations except Russians were oppressed here. Many cultural figures of Ukraine (writers, poets, scientists, theater and movie directors, actors, painters, musicians, folk artists, etc) undesirable for Soviet regime were executed or exiled to Siberia on the hard physical works, especially during the 1930s (it is known as Executed Renaissance). Among such figures were bandurists, the folk musicians who played on the bandura (Ukrainian folk string instrument) and sign mainly the patriotic sad ballads about cossacks, the Ukrainian steppe warriors of the 15-19 centuries.
Main plot of this movie is a story of a blind wondering bandurist Ivan Kocherga in 1932-1933. Accidentally he gives some help to American boy Peter, whose father was killed by Soviet special services because of some secret documents, and takes him as sighted person the guide.
Blind bandurist and his young guide are traveling in Eastern Ukraine among the beautiful landscapes and witnessing repressions of Ukrainian people by Soviet regime.
This movie is excellently visualized, which is combined with great music, including numerous Ukrainian folk songs.
It is clearly the best movie about Ukrainian culture since famous "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" (1965) of Sergei Parajanov and definitely the best one that was filmed in independent Ukraine so far.
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