Synopsis by Mark Deming
A family finds itself torn between loyalty to their brother and fear of their domineering mother in this drama from Russia. Four brothers living in different parts of Russia all receive messages asking them to come home to Moscow as soon as possible. A miner in the Ukraine, a sharpshooter with the Army in Tajikistan, a hustler living in Vladivostock, and a jobless man with a string of illegitimate children living in the tundra, the siblings have an unhappy history. As children, their mother organized the family into a music group called "The Happy Family"; they enjoyed brief success, but their fortunes soon faded. In time, Mother (Nonna Mordukova) attempted to hijack a jet to the United States; after a violent altercation with the police, the entire family ended up behind bars, and Father was killed by police (while his sons looked on) when he tried to bribe his way out of the prison camp. A fifth brother, Lenchik (Oleg Menshikov), was wounded while behind bars, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, and he's currently confined to a mental institution. Mother has now gathered her other sons together, hoping that as a group they can rescue Lenchik from the institution. Screenwriter Arif Aliev loosely based this story on actual events.