The title takes a line from the choral part of the people in the first scene of the prologue to the opera Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky. The image of “the people” is central to the film. The choristers of the Chernihiv District Philharmonic as they go to work are the movie’s protagonists. The artists documented their day-to-day work life and the time before recitals. The camera follows them, singling out quotidian scenes evocative of monotonous factory work. The impression is further underscored by a bell that punctuates the plot’s unfolding. In the final scene of the film, the protagonists sing the choral part of the opera, making it sound deeply personal. Their appeal to “the lessons of the past” maps onto present-day political realities, demonstrating “the scenery” that the country has found itself in. The film offers a critical perspective on the antiquated image of the dispossessed nation.


Yarema Malashchuk, Roman Himey