I really really recommend this movie! It is absolutely great and I totally cried at the end (then again, I nearly cry watching every movie) It does really go to your heart and the characters really do get “close to you”.
MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT! I will write a quick overview. There is a lot more depth in the characters and situations though, so watch the movie before you read 😉
Estonian villages in Abkhazia came to be in the 19th century. The war started in 1992. Lot of Estonians went back to Estonia. In this movie, 3 of them are still around.
Margus who has a clementine plant is looking to make some money and Ivo, who is staying in the midst of it all anyway, helps Margus by making him wooden boxes in which to transport the clementines. All is well because the mayor of Chechens has promised to send men over to help the Estonians with the clementines. But the men never show to help Margus.
One day a car stops in front of Ivo’s barn where he is making the boxes. Couple of Chechens. They ask Ivo a few questions and demand food off him. Ivo takes them to his house and packs some food for them. One of the Chechens, Ahmed, notices a picture of a young girl on a mantelpiece. Ivo’s grand-daughter. Ivo warns Ahmed not to say a single bad word about the beautiful young girl. To show respect. Ahmed stays polite and thanks the old man for food and compliments him for his bravery.
A little while later Ivo is back in his shed, making boxes when he hears shooting and an explosion. He runs out and near Margus’ house sees the Chechens and Georgians had a fire-fight. Out of 5 men, a Chechen is alive. Ahmed.
Ivo takes Ahmed back to his house to take care of his wounds. While trying to bury the 3 Georgians and the Chechen Ivo and Margus discover one of the Georgians is still alive and take him back to the house as well.
The Georgian is in a worse state because he has a head wood. The 3rd Estonian still around but soon to leave for Estonia is a doctor and he fixes up both wounded.
Once the Chechen finds out Ivo has brought a Georgian into the house Ahmed wants to go and kill him. Ivo takes Ahmed’s word not to kill the Georgian in his house.
As both the wounded get better and better each day, they find each other sitting behind the same table. Out of their respect for Ivo, for saving both their lives, they keep the peace.
One day, a car full of Chechen soldiers come to Ivo’s house. Ivo tells Ahmed to tell his fellow army men that the Georgian Niko is a Chechen as well and can’t speak because of his head wound. Ahmed promises to protect Niko, so that he can kill Niko when he is better and can walk out of the house on his own. All goes well and Chechens even promise to send over 40 men to help Margus with his clementines.
That evening all 4 men sit outside for a barbeque and are in peace. Ahmed and Niko start to insult each other and a fight nearly breaks out. Ivo however will not accept this behavior and tell the lads to sit the fuck down. Boys do respect the old man so much, that they listen. They even share a joke and all is perfect. The two enemies even tell Margus that they will go over and help him gather the clementines and box them. Then suddenly- BANG! Marguse’s house and clementine plant is blown up. He loses everything.
Ahmed, Niko and Margus stay in Ivo’s house. More Chechen soldiers appear. Ahmed goes outside to talk with them but the soldiers think Ahmed is a Georgian and are about to shoot him. Niko,however asks Ivo where he had put the guns and shoots the Chechens, to save Ahmed.
Now we can see, that a certain respect has started in between the two enemies. Niko throws over an automatic for Ahmed and while Niko covers Ahmed runs and shoots the last of the Chechens.
Margus, however got killed in the firefight.
Next scene is interesting as they show how Ahmed and Niko both have loaded automatics and for a second you think “That’s it, they’re gonna kill each other now, as they both have the ways and means”, but instead one of the Chechens is still alive and shoots Niko. Dead.
Throughout the movie, Margus and the doctor ask Ivo to leave with them. Off to Estonia but Ivo won’t have any of it. Ahmed at one point asks why is Ivo still in Abkhazia, but Ivo tells him to stuff it. In the end though, we find out that Ivo has buried his son here and refuses to leave. He also buries Niko next to his son. Ahmed is curious if Ivo would have buried him next to his son if it would have been him dead instead of Niko. Ivo says “Yes”
Also, while Niko was getting better he was fixing an old music tape.
In the last scene of the film, Ahmed drives off, back to his family and we can see him putting Niko’s tape into the player.
Of course, there’s a lot more depth into the characters and situations. I just bawled and bawled! What a great movie!