In the Siberian countryside, marriage is traditionally seen as the greatest achievable happiness for a woman. But the 80-year-old Dorotchka, an archetypal babushka, has always remained alone. At the kitchen table, she contemplates life, love, regret and loneliness—has she maybe brought this fate upon herself?
The film is a spin-off of a film that screened previously at IDFA, Siberian Love, in which filmmaker Olga Delane explored the same views on love and marriage. The beautiful, static images of Dorotchka in and around her wooden house, against the backdrop of a relentless landscape in which there’s constant hard work to be done, are reminiscent of 19th-century paintings of romanticized agricultural life. Wringing her hands at the kitchen table, Dorotchka speaks in short sentences peppered with expletives, making it clear that even women like her have their hearts broken. Stylized shots of rural life are combined with comical black-and-white footage of Russian country weddings, folk dancing and singing: a promise of opportunities in a bygone era.