Nadya, a five year-old Russian girl, is soothed by her loving grandmother VERA (65) after waking up from a bad dream, and Vera advises her granddaughter to tell her nightmares to the running water. Fast-forward twelve years, teenage Nadya keeps this advice close to her heart and continues to find solace in a patient stream of water as she whispers her night terrors away. Last night she had dreamt of her grandmother and, worried about Vera’s health, she decides to visit her grandmother. Nadya cares profoundly for Vera and has developed a deeper connection with her over time, despite the fact that the girl rarely visits and has grown apart with her childhood role model. Nadya surprises Vera at her musky, cramped apartment and the two talk, a bit awkwardly, over some tea and sweets. Vera admits that she has not been well for a while.
Later that night, Nadya experiences another nightmare in which she drowns and wakes up gasping for air. She enters the bathroom and whispers to the water, letting her fears, bad thoughts, and negative energy whirl down the drain once again. Meanwhile, Vera prepares to take her medication before going to bed. She pours herself some water from the tap in the kitchen and, after gulping down the meds, notices that the flowers Nadya had brought for her earlier that day have mysteriously wilted and the water turned yellow.
The next morning, Nadya wakes up to a phonecall telling her that Vera has passed. She goes to see her father at Vera’s house, where he covers mirrors around the house in white cloth. After waking up in the middle of the night from yet another nightmare, Nadya goes straight to Vera’s house. She tears the white cloth from a mirror and sees her grandmother, dressed in black, sitting on the bed and silently watching her under a cloudy streak of light.
This story was highly influenced by my personal relationship with my grandmother, who, being highly superstitious, inspired the film’s connections with dreams and talking to water. Her tales have stuck with me throughout the years and, as we’ve grown apart, I’ve connected with her more mentally than physically.
Directed by Angie Nicholas (USA)