Filmed in St Petersburg and the old LenFilm Studios, Irish writer/director MacCarthy's ambitious first feature attempts to explore the harsh changing realities of living in that city through the experiences and mind of a young boy, Micha, whose father is in exile in Germany. It follows him from his anglophile school (where he's nevertheless chastised for reading American Premiere) and through the hours he spends exploring the city until his waitress mother finishes work. He is taken under the wing of the film crew surrounding the enigmatic Borodin (who plays a gangster in a TV soap), but everyday reality on the street seems equally unreal. Truth and fiction meld. Floating unsettlingly from stylisation to naturalism, from realism to expressionism, from dream to tough reality, the film is at times obscure, but it has a surreal, compulsive quality and is acted with melancholy conviction.