After World War II, Leningrad was in ruins. The war may be over, but both the city and its inhabitants are devastated; and winter is just around the corner. Two young women try to survive among this devastation. Tall Iya, who at times suffers from shell-shock, works as a nurse in a veterans' hospital, as well as caring for the son of her friend Masha. When Masha returns from the front, they both have old and new traumas to face.
Having exposed an open wound in today's Russia in his high-impact debut Tesnota, 'wunderkind' Kantemir Balagov delves into his country's traumatic past in his cinematically exciting second film. Partly inspired by the book The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich, he tells the story of two of the approximately one million women who fought in the Red Army during WWII, but were then written out of history. As part of Critics’ Choice, the screening of Wed 29 Jan, 12:45 will be preceded by a video essay by Joost Broeren.