Grossman's 1960 novel gripped Western Europe when it was smuggled out of the Soviet Union (where it
was banned until the 1980s, after the author's death) and published in Switzerland. The plot focuses on a mother facing death in a Ukrainian Jewish ghetto and her physicist son who is confronted with an 6 impossible moral dilemma while developing a nuclear weapon. This profound and disturbing epic has been adapted by Dodin with a bluntness that perfectly fits the horrors of the Holocaust, the gulags, and the
concentration camps, all frenzied backdrops for its characters' struggles to maintain their humanity and essential goodness amid repression.