How hard can life be? Ayka secretly leaves a maternity clinic in Moscow – leaving her new-born baby behind – to go straight back to work. The Kyrgyzstani woman desperately needs to find the money to pay back loan sharks but runs up against one obstacle after another.
The glacial cold is unbearable. The indifference of the people around her is painful to watch. A vet is more concerned about the pets of his rich clients than about his staff. Women who do not rest after giving birth put their life on the line. The fact that she does not have the right residency papers makes things all the worse. But Ayka refuses to break.
This film has everything required to be the Russian Rosetta. Just like Émilie Dequenne before her, lead actress Samal Yeslyamova won the Award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. Sergey Dvortsevoy, the director of the fine film Tulpan, did not make it easy for her. He swears by radical and dynamic realism. The pain and misery had to look as authentic as possible. The cold and the exhaustion are not feigned. Dvortsevoy has depicted the suffering almost fanatically. But perhaps all the Aykas who live in Moscow would disagree.