Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
The story of a Russian man's attempted journey to England, this film opens in Kiev in 1986 just after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, where the carefree Valeri Sikorksi (Ivan Shvedoff) pals around with his friend Victor (Dennis Burgazliev). Several years later, Valeri is on a bus from Kiev to pick up Victor in Berlin on his way to England. En route to Berlin, Valeri becomes acquainted with the attractive Yelena (Chulpan Khamatova), who is traveling to Hanover to meet her German husband. Once in Berlin, Valeri meets Pavel (Merab Ninidze), an icon-painter, and eventually learns that Victor has died. After he gets a job at the Russian guest house where he's staying, Valeri begins a friendship with Maria (Anna Geislerova), the wife of his new boss, Schurig (Maxim Kowalewski). They eventually enter into an affair, even though Valeri is becoming increasingly ill with the same disease that killed Victor. As Valeri's sickness grows, so does his pessimism, and his entire world threatens to collapse.