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
Oles Sanin is a kobzar himself. He got some ideas for this film, while serving as a guide for a blind minstrel. At some period of his life he made his living making musical instruments. See more »
A very powerful commentary and an absolute joy to watch.
The director is tremendously talented. The style is reminiscent of Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker. Despite the sadness of some of the events, you are immersed in a world of supernatural beauty. The journeys through nature have a ethereal transcendent quality to them. The blindness of a leading character adds to this. The death toll of Stalin's famine was estimated at 7-10 million. This was one of the worst cases of genocide in human history. In this movie your soul feels the weight of this tragedy, but the movie does not dwell on this. It is setting, not the main narrative thrust. Hope and tender moments of compassion fill the screen. When this movie shows tragedy it is ultimately contrasted with a resistance of a human spirit that refuses to die. This movie is also a powerful reminder. The false promises of communism, which merely pretends to be a collectivist philosophy while actually operating more like a mafia, are juxtaposed with the real promises of compassion and love for ones neighbor. We are also shown communist propaganda tactics that mask true intentions and create confusion. Similar spin tactics accompany the war today. This is the film that Ukraine needed to make in response to what is happening to it right now. But it is so much more than that.
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