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Winner of both the coveted Best Director award and the FIPRESCI prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, Russian director Kantemir Balagov’s second feature is a fiercely devastating tale of two women rebuilding their lives in the shadow of World War II.

After wowing critics with his dazzling, FIPRESCI-winning debut Closeness (MIFF 2017), Balagov returns with a starkly unnerving, achingly beautiful story of two women struggling to eke out new lives in the war-collapsed Leningrad of 1945.

Iya, played by the extraordinary – and extraordinarily tall – Viktoria Miroshnichenko, is a war hospital nurse looking after an orphaned baby, even as she’s struck by dissociative fits of PTSD, while the child’s mother, Masha, is a returning soldier – and Iya’s real love. Pivoting on the fractured lives and relationship of the women, Balagov crafts a bracing, sometimes heartbreaking drama that sympathetically explores the slippery terrain of gender and humanity in the aftermath of war – and leaves its audience gasping at its masterly twists and tension.

“Ferocious and extraordinary ... You quite often have to remind yourself to breathe.” – Variety

Contains depictions of violence against children