Our lives are full of regret. Sometimes we possess the strength to overcome it. Sometimes we don’t try until the opportunity is already lost. This risk is present at the heart of Daria Kashcheeva‘s Dcera [Daughter] and its father/daughter duo quietly at odds while he lies in a hospital bed. Neither is willing to break the silence and we’re unsure why until a crash is heard and a bird found beneath a broken window. It jogs both characters into a state of remembrance: the daughter recalling a moment where her dad let her down and then her returning the favor years later. The distance between them is revealed as something both have manifested in their heads, but its power refuses to let them confront its pain.
Shot with an extremely shallow focus, shaky cam aesthetic of which I cannot fathom the logistics considering the whole is a stopmotion enterprise with hand-painted maquettes, the emotional turmoil and struggle shines through from start to finish. We feel the disappointment these characters experience when the moment they each need love is met by what they construe as a lack thereof devoid of the necessary context to understand the complexity of each situation. He doesn’t actually ignore her in her time of need. He’s simply distracted and trying to solve one problem before the next. She conversely isn’t pushing him away later, but simply finding herself caught in a public sphere wherein his display of affection conjures more embarrassment than affection. These “slights” inevitably fester nonetheless, though.
And now they’ve reached a point where moving past it might be a “now or never” ordeal. Will one of them offer a hand of forgiveness before it’s too late? If so, which will it be? Since they’re caught in reverie, we’re also forced from the hospital room to view the past. By the time we return, who knows what we might find? Will the bed be empty? Will her father reach out with arms open wide? Will she inch closer in a bid to let years of seemingly irreconcilable differences fade? You’ll have to watch to find out. Either that bird dies along with their relationship or it springs back to life from the ashes of uncertainty. Hope for a second chances exists … until it doesn’t.