90 min

In production



Directing: Vladlena Sandu


Vladlena was born in Crimea in 1982. After her parents’ divorce, at the age of 6, she moves to her mother’s homeland in Grozny, Chechnya, where she enters the first grade at school. The Soviet Union falls apart. Crimea, where her father lives, becomes part of Ukraine. Suddenly, her Russian-speaking classmates and friends are leaving the Chechen republic. This is related to the resurgence of a national conflict that began with the native Chechens’ deportation to Kazakhstan in 1944.
Chechens are returning to Chechnya en masse. In 1992 an armed conflict erupts in the region and quickly starts to escalate. Her Russian neighbors are murdered and the lives of her family members are threatened. In 1994 military operations begin in the city of Grozny. Vladlena’s grandfather dies. Vladlena’s mother is wounded and becomes handicapped. Finally, her family comes under an armed attack. Vladlena manages to escape.
In 1998 she receives the status of a displaced person in Russia. The experience of war leaves its mark and leads her to develop PTSD. In this autobiographical film, Vladlena turns to her childhood memories, surviving family archives, and historical artifacts, as well as her deepest traumatic experiences in order to find an answer to a question that continues to haunt her: why did her family choose to remain in a war zone?
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