This intriguing portrait of an ex-bomber pilot who is out of her element in the earth-bound boredom of postwar life was probably Shepitko's most controversial film, for it explored generational conflicts and exposed deep divisions within Soviet society. Nadezhda Petrovna-played with great depth and subtle humor by Maya Bulgakova-is a forty-two-year-old provincial schoolmistress and the unmarried guardian of an adopted daughter. Rigidity and an authoritarian manner are the painful defenses she has developed in the face of a generation seemingly blind to the political passions that inspired her own youth and made her a national hero in her day. As she wanders through the familiar terrain of her memories in an effort to reconcile them with an alien reality, Shepitko's imagery brilliantly captures the struggle, leading Variety's Ron Holloway to call Shepitko “a master of rhythmic blending of reality and fantasy” and the film “a milestone in the development of the New Soviet Cinema.”

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