An elderly art restorer, at the peak of his eminence, waits to hear whether or not he has been given the title of "Academician," the highest scholarly title one can have in the Russian system. As he waits, he reminisces about his life, particularly an episode during World War II when his archives at the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Museum were nearly destroyed. As he muses, he comes to realize that his single-minded devotion to his career cost him a heavy price in terms of ordinary human experience. This Russian film bears more than a passing resemblance to the Swede Ingmar Bergman's earlier film Wild Strawberries.
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