The director dedicated this lyrical, epic film-confession to the memory of his father who was a doctor. The film’s protagonist, an ambulance doctor, conducts dangerous experiments in search of a vitally important vaccine. His wife believes in his work, though his daughter would not understand him. His son, who is absolutely unlike his father in character, is trying to protect him. But self-denial in the name of science proves too high a price. Just when he is on the verge of discovery, the doctor loses everything he has gathered as a result of his twenty-year-long work. This loss brings him even closer to his son. The shooting of the film continued for seven years (1985-1992), making it a metaphorical culmination of the Soviet cinematography and the Soviet way of life as a whole.