Mozgovoy’s superb debut follows a boy’s coming-of-age as the U.S.S.R. crumbles. Alexey feels like an alien living in Taiga, Siberia. Born in 1985, he grows up in poverty and witnesses the Union’s decline, noticing at age six how factories are closing and people no longer know what to do with themselves. He develops a fondness for reading poetry and dreams of a better life anywhere else, so it’s a special treat when he is sent at 12 to a Pioneer camp for three weeks. There, he feels empowered by singing songs and staging a play with his fellow creative comrades, making his return to real life all the more crushing.