Ukraine, November 1941: six-year-old Jewish Anna regains consciousness under a layer of earth, surrounded by corpses. She is the sole survivor of a mass execution by German soldiers. After her successful escape from the mass grave she hides in the fireplace chimney in an old school building confiscated by the Nazis. Only at night does she risk leaving her hiding place to find food and such to survive, aware of the fate that awaits her if she is discovered.
Director Aleksey Fedorchenko, known for Silent Souls, tells this poignant, true-to-life war story mainly through the sounds that reach hushed Anna from the outside: soldiers' voices, barking dogs, a radio, distant gunfire. This ode to the resilience and ingenuity of a young child is reinforced by the phenomenally strong acting performance of debuting, also 6-year-old, Marta Kozlova.