Screenplay by Alan Nafzger (copyright 2013)
LOGLINE: In the winter of 1981, there was a monumental amount of violence in the Kirov forest.
SETTING: Soviet Era, Russia,
Nikolay Patolichev is a regional police chief under the thumb of influential oblast Communist Party Chairman Vitaly Vorotnikov and his family. When Patolichev’s two teenage sons, Adrik and Zory, accidentally shoot and kill Vorotnikov during a boar-hunt, Patolichev ‘s long-held allegiance to the Communist Party and the corrupt Vorotnikov family is tested. Zory (still a minor) takes the blame for his older brother Adrik, but the Vorotnikov family’s quick retaliation plans change everything. Desperate and guilt-ridden, Adrik breaks Zory out of police custody and sets off a long chase through the thick forest. Nikolay Patolichev’s choice between the law and his sons leads to a small war that threatens everything he has left in the world.
Patolichev’s wife was killed in a car wreck when his two son’s were young.
Our movie begins with the two Patolichev bothers Adrik and Zory hunting in the forest. Adrik is the leader, has skills and is 18. Zory is 14 and doesn’t have very much confidence. Zory shots a wild boar, who runs off, not killed immediately. They chase the hog. They find blood but no carcass. They suddenly stop and Adrik says that he see the pig and fires. They approach to find they have shot a man. They know the man is Vitaly Vorotnikov.
the Vorotnikov hunting party arrives and stand in shock over the body. Regional police lead the boys away out of the forest to a road and a police car. While it isn’t clear what the relationship is, the boys at a small rural jail are interviewed by Nikolay Patolichev (their father) and the statements are taken and signed. “It was an accident and Zory (underage) pulled the trigger.” The papers are placed in a file cabinet. The father wants to do this because later at a trial there will need to be evidence to counter the inevitable forced confession.
The father puts Zory in a cell. Adrik is told to go home.
Several government officials go to the home of Vorotnikov to tell the wife about the accident. The 18 year old daughter of Vorotnikov answers the door. Blausa Vorotnikov and Adrik Patolichev are having an elicit love affair. Adrik has “accidently” killed the father of his lover, his younger brother has taken the blame. A reasonable person would begin to question this.
The next morning there is a meeting of the party committee, which happens to be mostly made up of Vorotnikov family, in-laws, as well as people the Vorotnikov control. It is agreed that if there is a trial it will be fixed and a conviction for the death of the helicopter crew would be simple. But the wife of Vorotnikov makes an impassioned speech and she wants faster justice. She wants the two boys killed and the committee says nothing. So it is agreed.
Adrik asks his father to go and release Zory. He can’t; the powerful communist in the Vorotnikov family want the boy moved to a central jail in the city of Kirov. They are bringing a helicopter to pick up the boy. Adrik is upset and fears he will never see his brother again.
As they are putting him in the helicopter, Adrik, in a police uniform, boards also but with a mask over his face. Nothing is said by the guards, they simply think he is the executioner. There are two pilots, two guards and the two brothers onboard. Adrik tries to take control of the helicopter. But the weapon discharges several times, the two guards fall out into the forest eventually the helicopter crashes. The boys jump out before the helicopter hits the trees. The thick trees and deep snow protect them from the spinning blades and the exploding aircraft.
The father is phoned and of course there is a big problem. Now the Vorotnikov family and authorities will be looking for both brothers.
The MVD police pour into the forest. The boys run to a house entirely insulated with wolf pelts. The wolf hunter knows their father and hides the boys until he can come to collect them. Nikolay, the father, arrives and he is about to take his sons to Kirov but the MVD soldiers arrive and begin shooting. The two brothers escape in one direction and the father in a second. The hunter is killed.
The boys run into the deep forest.
The boys simply can’t return to society. They talk in the woods as they rest from running. They make plans to get on a train, get a car, steal a boat. But this is impossible dreaming.
The father is warned by Vorotnikov’s in-law and MVD commander, Alexey Rykov not to help his sons. And he adds that Patolichev has been an ally of the family and a good communist and that he has been a team player.
There is a shooting incident in the forest. A MVD troop is shot with a bow and an arrow. The boys escape again. They take several weapons and tear gas.
The plan for the boys is to run to the neighboring oblast. They have an uncle living there who is a policeman. If they can get there they can expose the Vorotnikov family’s corruption. That is the plan, perhaps it isn’t a good one but that is their only hope.
In the chase through the forest, they encounter several young inexperienced men, much like themselves and are able to avoid capture or death.
Several troops are guarding the roads, the brothers try to steal a vehicle from them and fail. But the troops begin accidentally shooting each other.
The father thinks long and hard, eats and drinks vodka. He is listening to the radio about the fighting in the woods. He is told by people in his office to simply wait and pray. He walks by a church, thinks about going in but doesn’t.
Rykov comes to the forest to tell the troops no more play time. He wants the boys killed.
The father, Nikolay Patolichev, leaves the village, penetrates the MVD road blocks. The MVD was told not to allow him into the area. Rykov seems to have calculated that Patolichev would come to help his sons.
The chase intensifies. The boys wonder where their father is and why he doesn’t help them. Zory wants to know why their father is such a loyal communist. Adrik explains that he isn’t loyal to the party but loyal to Vitaly Vorotnikov and loyal to moving up. Adrik explains that it was the Communist Party Chairman Vitaly Vorotnikov who killed their mother. Vorotnikov was driving drunk. It was all covered up and their father, Nikolay Patolichev had gone along with it. Patolichev was then promoted to regional police chief.
This explains why the Vorotnikov family and especially why Rykov is pressing for them to be killed. They believe it wasn’t an accident and they don’t want all this to come out in a trial. It would ruin their hold on power. They are almost like a mafia family in the oblast and they don’t want to lose their privileges.
Adrik admits to his brother that the shooting was on purpose. Zory is understandably upset because his brother allowed him to take the blame. Zory volunteered to take the blame. There is an intense argument interrupted by gunfire. They use the tear gas to escape.
The two boys find an empty rural police station, maps and a phone. Adrik calls Blausa and they arrange to meet.
Patolichev’s deputy, a member of the Vorotnikov family, has a chance to shot them but doesn’t. Nikolay Patolichev meets Alexey Rykov in the forest and Rykov asks him to walk away “like last time”. Patolichev will not lose his wife AND two sons to the same family. They shot each other. Patolichev is wounded and Rykov is killed outright.
The boys try to cross a bridge and this isn’t a good situation. The troops are at each end… but Blausa drives her father’s ZiL to rescue them, the soldiers are frozen; no Soviet soldier will fire on a ZiL. One soldier thinks “Brezhnev” is inside, maybe he has never seen a ZiL except on television. Blausa, Adrik and Zory drive to a village power generating station. The father of the boys join the group in the station, but the soldiers and rather a lot of them surround them.
Adrik admits to his father that he shot Vitaly Vorotnikov. Blausa, admits that her father was not a good man, but she didn’t want that to happen. But it is clear Vorotnikov was killed for the car wreck and the death of the two boy’s mother. There is a good long discussion in the family about the death of the mother and the family is angered. The father is most emotional about it.
There is a negotiation and Blausa is handed over to the family members who are helping the MVD.
Strangely, inside the station is a military tank, being used to generate electricity, and an old blind man. The tank was lost in military training and abandoned. The old man simply fixed it and drove it to the village rather than allow it to rust. He says they had written to the Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev governments for electricity and nothing was ever done, so they kept the tank. Inside the wooden station it was save from prying eyes and a closely guarded secret. The blind man and veteran soldier says he loves the tank and the sound made him sentimental about the Great Patriotic War.
The MVD begins to spray the station with gun fire. The building is no protection from the bullets so they follow the blind man into the tank. They start the tank and drive through the station walls to the road. There is a lot of gun fire but it looks like the tank might have enough fuel to get to the next oblast.
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