The workers' demonstration eventually appears to inevitable. Their gathering is crushed without mercy by the authorities. Lyuda is witnessing them massacre and panic when she suddenly comes to the horrific realization that her daughter might be among the victims. Within seconds, her world comes apart and her whole view of the situation changes. Despite the blockade of the city, the countless arrests and authorities' attempts to cover up the bloodbath (by dumping the bodies in already used graves and obliging all witnesses to sign a non-disclosure agreement), she desperately starts looking for her daughter.
It wasn't until 30 years later that the Russians found out what exactly had happened during the labour strike in Novotsjerkassk in 1962. And even though the film was made in black and white, its subject and social critique are far from history.
"Konchalovsky's finest work, a harrowing drama in which the increasingly confused cacophony of unfolding events and comparative calm of the visuals strike a horribly threatening chord."