A stunning addition to the canon of coming-of-age dramas, Kateryna Gornostai’s debut film is a tender and authentic portrait of teenagers in contemporary Ukraine. At the heart of the story is 16-year-old Masha, introverted and sensitive, and her fellow outsiders Yana and Senia. When Masha falls in love with her aloof classmate Sasha, she learns painful lessons about both herself and her generation’s place in conflict-ridden Ukraine. Blending documentary elements with naturalistic drama, this is bracingly frank and compassionate filmmaking.
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