The crumbling of the Soviet Union is reflected in the the decaying tower blocks of the Ukraine, but this is no grim slice-of-realism record. You know from the start that these lovable characters will win through with gritty determination in spite of the black absurdities of their circumstances. Just a few small episodes in their lives have enough authenticity and emotion to fill your soul.
Smena couldn't help but feel excitement: a head X-ray did not come her way as often as those of other body parts. And heads were the most popular with the buyers, fetched the most money. A shame she couldn't use this one. She would not be lured into Nika's trap.
The small white letters on the bottom right-hand corner of the film, easily overlooked by the untrained eye, read VERONIKA L. GUPKA, TUMOR. Smena noticed a thinning at the base of the skull, a shadow overtaking it from inside. The thing looked contagious, like a curse. She didn't like the tumor hanging on her window, projecting its tendrils onto her kitchen wall.
She understood then: the woman was dying. Whatever she wanted from Smena stemmed from this fact.