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film synopsis

Some year’s back, Chris lost his desire to live after his son died and began to despair. Chris, a journalist of the German TV channel “Choice”, has a good career. His wife, Ingrid wants to adopt a child, but Chris is not sure.

Chris travels to a refugee camp outside Tbilisi accompanied by his camera operator Hans to film the refugees living at the camp. Upon returning to his Tbilisi hotel, Chris accidentally meets Akhmad, a Chechen rebel who suggests to Chris that he make a film to show the injustices of the Chechen war, but Chris declines as he on his way back to Cologne.

On their way to the airport they are suddenly kidnapped by Chechen rebels upon Akhmad’s orders and taken to a training camp in Georgia. There and now dressed in camouflage they meet Akhmad once again as he now re-introduces himself as their new producer.

They travel to Chechnya through the Caucuses to support the group headed by Akhmad’s father, Mohammed. They cross the Chechen-Georgian border in the dead of night, continuing to travel through forests and several destroyed villages. In one such village they are ambushed by Russian soldiers and Chris accidentally kills a Russian soldier.

They arrive at Vakha’s house, a former Chechen freedom fighter living with his granddaughter near the Georgian border. Akhmad leaves behind a large armaments cache at his house. Chris gradually understands Akhmad’s grievances against the Russians after witnessing the brutality and the destruction caused by the Russians in Chechnya. When the group arrives at Mohammed’s camp, they find it scorched. In his rage, Akhmad seizes a hospital building in a Chechen village and demands the release of his father. When he finds out that his father is dead, Akhmad loses control and kills some of the hostages and demands the return of his father’s body and a bus for their getaway.

Taking the remaining hostages with them they board the bus and escape. Upon entering the edge of a forest, they are ambushed and the bus overturns. They leave the hostages in the bus and run into the forest where Hans dies. Akhmad and Chris continue running into the forest, but Akhmad suffering from a fatal gunshot wound dies. Chris films him as he dies and buries him.

Exhausted, Chris follows the trail back to the Chechen Georgian border and after some time arrives back at Vakha’s house. Vakha welcomes Chris to his house. Vakha does not understand English and Chris understands neither Chechen nor Russian. Despite this, Chris learns that Vakha lost his children in the war. He has his granddaughter left now and damns the war. Chris tells him about how he lost his son.

The Russian militia eager to find Chris’ film footage track him to the house the next day. Aizani, Vakha’s granddaughter hides Chris in the woods, but the militia find the hidden ammunition left at the house by Akhmad and Chris’ hard drive and memory sticks. Vakha argues with the soldiers and they kill him. Chris buries Vakha and leaves with Aizani for the Georgian border.