How does society react to a pointless attack, to violence without any clear motive? The community in the Armenian city of Gyumri faces this conundrum when a Russian soldier kills seven members of a family. Nariné Mkrtchyan and Arsen Azatyan use shots of the real protests following the slaughter but fictionalise the true event. Their soldier is called Ivan, just like the fool from Russian folklore, who they have interwoven into their narrative in a children’s show.
The film focuses on the aftermath of the drama, with the characters symbolising the contradictory reactions evoked by events. The soldier is arrested, but war veterans Vahan and Sargis demand retribution and will do this themselves if necessary. The priest Avetis, however, calls on the people to keep calm and patient, while Vahan’s young wife Ani is very concerned. They each seek in their own way to recover the dignity taken from them.