The short film Trusha shows the life of a boy growing in a Russian orphanage. It is just 22 minutes, but lingers with me still, two weeks after watching it – a haunting feeling of ache and love for a tender boy whose hopes and hurts reflect those of many.
Truth be told, even for those who care deeply about orphaned children, it is often hard to imagine what the world looks like through their eyes or what it feels like through their heart. As much as any film I’ve seen, Trusha gives a taste of that experience.
Perhaps that is because Trusha was crafted by a filmmaker who knew this reality intimately. Eduard Zholonin grew up in a Russian orphanage and made the film as a tribute to a friend, Trusha, who’d grown up with him and died at 18.
Trusha was made with a limited budget. But its cinematography, acting and music are very well done. They work powerfully together to provide unforgettable swatches of the emotions and experiences of a child growing up without family, both beautiful and heartbreaking. (You can watch Trusha at no cost via Vimeo below)
Far too often, debates about child welfare systems, adoption ethics and ideal forms of care leave out the voice of the children themselves: those who felt the sharp pinch of deprivation, the paralyzing fear of predators, the gray of loveless caregivers, the ache of longing to belong.
That is an error that needs to be corrected. And voices like Eduard Zholonin’s – artfully conveyed through a film like Trusha – are precisely what we need more of.
Zholonin is now working to raise the funds for a full-length film based on a famous Russia novel about an orphan during WWII. If Trusha is any indication, that’s a film that needs to be made.