Veteran Russian writer-director Andrei Konchalovsky (who cowrote Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood and Andrei Rublev; his better-known directorial efforts include Siberiade and Tango & Cash) dramatizes the events of the 1962 Novocherkassk massacre, when 26 unarmed protesters were killed by Red Army soldiers and KGB operatives. Lyuda (Julia Vysotskaya) is a committed party official whose teenage daughter works at the auto factory where employees are striking against lowered wages and the rising cost of living; both Lyuda and her daughter get caught up in the events, which results in the aforementioned murders and labyrinthine cover-ups (in real life the massacre was kept secret until the 1990s). Lyuda is also a devout Stalinist, while her father, who lives with her, is a nihilistic Don Cossack, and her daughter represents the illusion of liberalism during the so-called Khrushchev Thaw—three epochs of Soviet politics under one roof. The drama is impelled by the daughter’s disappearance after the bloody protest; as she searches for her child amidst a myriad of state complicities, Lyuda comes to question her fervent belief in communism. Konchalovsky cowrote the film with frequent collaborator Elena Kiseleva and shot it in black-and-white, in the boxy Academy ratio. Despite such familiar European art-house trappings, it’s nonetheless commanding as it considers both Soviet history and the fates of its characters. Vysotskaya’s performance in particular is riveting—through her acute portrayal, one witnesses these extraordinary phenomena: the challenging of a belief system and the extirpation of one’s tricky convictions. In Russian with subtitles.