1989. The USSR begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of the Soviet-Afghan war. Soviet General Vasiliev’s son gets kidnapped by the Mujahideen after his airplane crashes. The 108th motorised infantry division’s long-awaited return gets put on hold for one last mission: bring the General’s son back home.
Based on real events, this previously untold story of the courageous and tragic withdrawal campaign reveals the danger, the horror and the complexity of human nature during wartime. Russian politicians criticised the film for its unflattering depiction of Red Army soldiers looting and fighting among themselves. Director Pavel Lungin based the film on the experiences of Nikolay Kovalyov, a veteran of the Afghan war who went on to lead Russia’s FSB spy agency. It is an extraordinarily powerful, unvarnished film about war and friendship, corruption and camaraderie, that reveals some of the reasons why this war remains a festering cultural wound.