Stylistically and perhaps ethnically beyond the pale of ordinary movie fare, this Russian drama set in 1904 in a remote military garrison is a specialized tale of a particular period. Most of its story is told through narration. On the eve of the downfall of Czarist Russia, the soldiers in this military garrison are leading a dull and useless existence -- there is nothing meaningful for them to do. In order to combat boredom, they engage in dubious remedies, one of which is found in a bottle and another in beating each other up. When not drunk or maiming each other, the soldiers also fight "duels of honor." In the midst of this debased environment, a young officer has fallen in love with another man's wife. As sure as the sun rises in the east, he will be forced to defend himself in a duel.
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