Katya and Vasya, two idealistic young teachers, gain their first practical experience in a Russian town. Katya’s job is to teach teenagers Russian literature but even her hairdresser feels sorry for her. Vasya’s subject is geography. Much as he loves traveling and exotic countries, the Russian provinces are still foreign to him.
Yulia Vishnevets shows everyday life in Russia as we rarely see it. In a lively, observational style, she follows Katya and Vasya for a year as they attempt to stimulate and teach the young people. But they meet a lack of understanding from both the school and the parents. “Why gain their trust? You’re the teacher!” a colleague comments. And do these teenagers actually have the slightest interest in learning about feminism, Russian politics, or debating?
Like teenagers everywhere, the students are recalcitrant and disruptive, but Katya and Vasya also encounter nationalism, sexism, and homophobia. It’s a hard learning experience, despite occasional dancing interludes and unexpected, touching moments.