Street kids Kolya, Irina, Ksusha and Denis have relied on each other since they were young and survive by stealing, begging and turning tricks. Now, on the brink of adulthood, time is running out for them to escape their toxic situation...
Following the break up of the Soviet union, a gang of children from broken homes made a new life together inside the derelict buildings of a once secret weapons manufacturing city. In their childhood innocence, they thought they were living a fairy tale dream of freedom, but with starvation and sub zero temperatures crippling their health, reality soon hit home. Despite their efforts to care for one another, three members of their group died. For the survivors: they must try against hopeless odds to turn their lives around.
I saw A Russian Fairytale at the Mosaic World Film Festival at the weekend, which went on to win best documentary. It was completely gripping from the opening scene with the boy in the psychiatric hospital and leaves you hooked throughout. I was blown away by the end, as I think most of the audience were.
The film is undeniably sad, mainly because you like the characters very much, - gritty, urban, totally unconventional teenagers, living their own life way off the grid of 'normal' society. The way they talk about stealing, begging is so frank, it's sometimes just funny.
By the end of the film you realise all is not how it seems. Those you loved, you mistrust, those you thought were weak, are strong. You realise that this family they set up for themselves on the street is just as bad as the real families they ran away from as children... until the one who is holding it all together escapes and it all falls apart.