After watching the film, you find that you have never seen anything like it before. The whole cruel truth of the attitude of the Nazis towards peaceful Belarusian residents is shown. The picture from the very beginning keeps the viewer in suspense and does not allow to relax.
Teenage boys, who think and act beyond their years, look for weapons on the battlefield, knowing that this is the only way they can fight against the enemy. Parents who want to protect and protect their children from evil understand in their hearts that this is impossible under the current conditions. Terrible episodes of fire, cries of despair and grief, the roar of German planes and the barking of shepherd dogs, scenes of blood and destruction – everything creates a real picture of evil and violence of man against man.
The kind and gentle Fleur, from the very beginning eager to fight the invaders, endured many inhuman torments and hardships that hardly anyone could endure.
Realizing that the partisans do not take him seriously, and perhaps regret it, he decides to return home. Glasha, a girl who was also not taken, joins him. She is offended and upset, because she is in love with the commander of the detachment, a strict and strong person.
The guys come under fire, they see German paratroopers, they are shivering wet from the cold, spending the night in the forest. But still, in their hearts they are still children, they rejoice in communication with each other. The young man admiringly looks at the girl dancing under the streams of rain, for a moment forgetting about the danger.
A stork appears near the young creatures (a symbol of the birth of a new life), but he is also wet, unhappy and hungry, just like them. As if he says that now it’s hard for everyone, black darkness obscured the bright sunny day for a long time. Keeps near them, feeling kindness and protection.
In the house of a young man, dishes on the table prepared for dinner, food still warm in the oven, toys that twin sisters recently played with, itchy flies – everything speaks of some kind of terrible incident. An agitated Fleur comforts himself with the thought that his family hid on an island in the middle of a swamp. He still does not know what Glasha saw – a bunch of corpses near the wall of his house.
A swampy dead swamp where children could die looking for their relatives, and the news of the death of their mother and sisters, the terribly burned body of a fellow villager who was still alive, the cries and cries of hungry children – everything was mixed up in Fleur’s head. He feels guilty for the death of his loved ones and decides to commit suicide, but he is saved.
A grief-stricken boy’s hair is cut off a little with a knife – this is like a rite of purification from suffering and evil that have filled the young soul. Hair is buried.
The scene with the effigy of Hitler, in which the “islanders” spit with great hatred and disgust, is striking. Fleur wanted to spit as well, but he couldn’t collect the saliva in his parched mouth. It’s funny when a scarecrow is carried by a man.
Once among his people and feeling their support, the young man moves away a little, even found the strength to go with three daredevils to get food. But they come under fire, everyone dies, except for him. He was so exhausted and heartbroken that he fell asleep on the dead cow they were taking to the island.
In the film, the punishers set fire to a barn full of people, Fleur was among them, but miraculously escaped. Punishers really carried out such actions in Belarus, several hundred villages with inhabitants burned down.
The author of the film wants to reach out to humanity. You can not kill each other, sow cruelty and violence, otherwise it can affect everyone.
The image of the young hero around whom the events of the film revolve is very well chosen.
The boy, whose childhood was taken away, having gone through all the horrors and trials from the German invaders, turns gray, his face takes on the appearance of an senile, exhausted by grief. He is the victim and the witness. He went through hell. How can you forget it and move on? Why are people capable of doing such things?
Finale and its meaning
A detachment of partisans liquidated the fascist punishers who were retreating from the village, some were taken prisoner. Among them, Flera recognizes an elderly chief German officer who gave orders for the destruction of people. There are those who ask for mercy, transferring the blame to others, like a translator from German. He even, in order to save himself, douses his compatriots with gasoline and asks for a torch to set fire to. This once again speaks of the inhumanity of the Nazis. No matter how terrible the atrocities of the enemy were, our people could not answer them in the same way – burn them alive. One woman began to shoot them, she was supported by partisans.
Fleur in this situation gives a canister of gasoline, which he brought with him.
The squad leaves. The young man sees a portrait of Hitler in a puddle and starts shooting at him, then aims and shoots at the changing frames, where the figure of the Fuhrer flickers. He takes revenge for his mother, beloved sisters, for all those executed and killed on his land. But here Hitler-baby appears in front of his eyes in his mother’s arms. There was no shot. He couldn’t kill the child. The director wants to say that even in a solid wall of evil and heartlessness, good has a right to exist. In any situation, you need to do good. This is our salvation and our future without wars!
It is snowing, pure and unblemished, it covers the exhausted, burned earth with whiteness. Life goes on…