Tarkovsky's graduation project at the VGIK film school in Moscow offers a key to all the later 'mature' work: it's his clearest statement of frustrated longing for a perfect union with an idealised father-figure. Six-year-old Sasha (Fomchenko) lives with his domineering, unsympathetic mother (Adzhuberi), and studies the violin under an even more domineering and even less sympathetic female music teacher. His idealised father-figure is Sergei (Zamansky), a butch-but-sensitive road-mender, who saves him from being bullied, gives him bread, milk and lessons in self-confidence and respect, and promises to take him to the movies - to see Chapayev, the venerable romantic portrait of a Communist hero. The 'romance' between man and boy receives the benediction of a prototypical Tarkovskian rainstorm, incidentally yielding a charming cine-poem about drops of water and puddles. Some ten years later, Tarkovsky reworked all of this much more elaborately in Solaris.