A WWII movie set in the Carpathians and named after the Ukrainian version of Pandora's Box, this is a sheer masterpiece! Well, in these last few months I have seen quite a few films set in similar regions, depicting similar (in cases, the same) lifestyle, but I have to say this has been the most affecting till date. We see a very delicate episode of the Carpathian history played out here – starting from the Soviet reclamation of Carpathians through the Nazi-Romanian occupation to Soviet rescue again – and no, I have spoilt nothing. All of it is captured through the life of a family of musicians, comprised of five brothers and a struggling-to-provide father. The eldest brother joins the Soviets while a younger one joins the nationalists - in due course of time, through the promiscuity of love, one ends up being responsible for the other's life. The wide-eyed, typically Carpathian mountain beauty is present here in Dana, for whom three people get entangled in a twist of fate. The film has a very solid story, superb, rustic and lively music, great costumes and detailing and also some very good frames. The landscapes are shot brilliantly – the slippery rocks, the difficulty of warfare in the terrain, the monstrous rafts, and harshness of life in conjunction with shortage of food – everything is sketched beautifully. There are a few sequences that are unforgettable – the family playing as their house burns, the strange percussion that produces brilliant sounds, Giorgiy's (the youngest son) reaction to a broken illusion, the rowing of the raft through a mad river, the bride distributing the bread, and definitely, the final chase. A film that is stylized like others from this region, but makes a difference in the impact that it achieves – it goes beyond an ethnographic movie and tells us a universal story, which when set against the daunting Carpathians, becomes a devastating and magnificent poetry. Time very very well spent.