Set in a Ukrainian village in the Russian Empire of 1919, this film flips the script on the idea of German and Jewish relations exploring communities like this one where race and religion segregated immigrant communities like this one.
As there is very little documentation on many similar townships that were terrorised by enforcers of the Russian revolution, drawing from historical context, it sits very much in fiction but paints a clear picture of the contrasting ideas of socialism and collectivism and the very probable and chilling consequences of revolt.
For German colonisers of the town of Odessa, land ownership and harvests are threatened with the rising communism movement. Much of the story is from the perspective of two childhood friends, Anton (whose family are German settlers) and Jakob (the son of a Jewish shop owner).
It challenges preconceptions of community groups who would later become natural enemies of the time, destined to endure a greater war on two opposite sides. By doing so, it ruminates on the childhood innocence during struggles of the great war, and an unlikely friendship that transcends time after violence and brutality has shaped them to live and fight on opposite sides of the battle field.
The experiences of Anton and Jakob are the experiences that shape their roles in adulthood. Their enduring friendship a reminder of that innocence lost.