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This is a Russian or Ukrainian story of a peasant village. One of their own men returns to the village. He's now in the army, and the villagers are initially delighted to see him, but his army job is to subjugate them and (if I remember correctly) to enforce the communist ideology on their way of life. The man's relationships with his former friends are the core of this story.

It is filmed in Russian/Ukrainian, with English subtitles, and I'm guessing I saw it in the mid 1980s. Can anyone identify the film for me?

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Is there anything about musical school or theater? Is he killed in the movie? Why he is back, because of some kind of injure? There is one movie which comes to my mind but I can't find it on IMDB. It's named Бессмертная песня (1957-1958). In exact translation it means Immortal Song. –  F0G Nov 26 '13 at 6:49
Thanks, no I don't remember anything along those lines, and the film is more recent than the one you mention (in colour, at least!). The man's return is a coincidence; only because he has been posted there with an army unit. I'm struggling to remember many details... –  toandfro Nov 26 '13 at 19:47
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