Russians bombarded Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpin and other cities in the region following their invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. By the time they retreated a month later, the damage was massive: destroyed houses, executed civilians, and ruined lives. Filmmakers Mila Teshaieva and Marcus Lenz went in immediately, in time to film local people emerging from their shelters, but never showing the actual atrocities. That wasn’t necessary, as the trauma of war is clear to see on everyone’s faces, including those of the volunteers who rushed in from far and wide to help.
Over the course of many weeks, the filmmakers follow various residents as they pick themselves up from the smoldering ruins. The dead are identified, debris is cleared, and prosecutors start talking about a war tribunal. At first, all is panic, despair and sadness— accompanied by sheer bafflement that they have been attacked by a country with so many ties to families and friends. But as the first blossoms of spring start appearing, these Ukrainians also reveal their resilience. Human spirit overcomes war and death.