This strange, disconcerting film is more foreign than its Russian roots — it was nominated for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film. Set during Stalin’s reign, on the backside of World War II, Kata (a brimming and sensual Ekaterina Rednikova) a young war widow and her son Sonya (Misha Philipchuk), try to find a foothold on life. Their savior comes in the form of a magnetic soldier (Vladimir Mashkov) who fills the void as provider, lover and father. But as time wears on the soldier’s macho magnanimousness proves to be a guise for ripping off unwary comrades who take him into their confidence. Philipchuk is absolutely endearing as the young Sonya and Mashkov is powerful as the dualistic con, but when the film jumps ahead a couple of years and takes a few unexpected turns, the promising coming-of-age saga, runs off the tracks.