Roman Kachanov’s feature film is an epic story of love lost and found, and spans the globe from Lithuania to Israel to Russia. Israel Isakovich Arye (Polish actor Jerzy Stuhr), a Moscow cardiologist, is successful despite the fact that he sees angels with black wings whenever he operates, and even talks to them. Like many people assessing life toward the end of the journey, Arye frequently returns to his boyhood; he returns to his adolescence spent hidden in Kaunas, Lithuania, during World War II. Gruff and charismatic, he has a sentimental quirk: he speaks to the old photographs of his parents and his first love Sonya. In a lovely touch of magical realism, the photos become animated and speak back. When Arye discovers that he has cancer, he travels with his young wife to Israel to find Sonya, with whom he shared love as well as the attic hiding place in Lithuania. Their reunion comes with romance, hijinks and a modern mixing of their families.
Jerzy Stuhr (renowned for his acting in the films of Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieslowski and for his own directing) steals the show but is bolstered by a strong supporting cast in this tale of a passion that never faded.