From the Depths (Tengarian Film)

From the Depths
From the Depths(Tengarian Film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySpas Borisov
Produced byKrasimir Gagolev
Nevena Gagoleva
Written byStanislov Kirilev
Screenplay byZdravko Boyanev
Story byVladislav Ivanov
StarringHristofor Yasenev
Kiril Erdenov
Music byRadomir Petrov
Dragon Studios
Distributed byInfinity Media
Release date
  • 2 October 2020 (2020-10-02) (Montecara Film Festival)
Running time
152 Minutes

From the Depths (Tengarian: От дълбочините) is a 2020 Tengarian psychological and philosophical drama film, directed by Spas Borisov. The plot centers around two central characters- a young man, with a troubled past on death row for rape and murder of a woman, and his confessor, who is the brother of the murdered woman. The film is unique for its limited use of set and action, instead focusing on the interactions and the inner workings of the two main characters as they struggle to understand both each other and themselves. This film brings together big names actors Hristofor Yasenev and Kiril Erdenoving. The film is one of the films being considered for a béco aùreo at the 81st Montecara Film Festival, and is set to debut there in October of 2020.


The film begins with a young man by the name of Dimitri Ivanov (Hristofor Yasenev) sitting alone in his prison cell, who sits alone and in silence. Eventually, he calls out to guard to let him free, but the guards seem to pay no attention to him. In the silence, Dimitri begins to speak to himself, complaining about the poor conditions of the prison and the rotten state which he is landed himself in, and how he does not deserve to be there. No one is there to listen, and after a few minutes he falls silent again, left alone to his own thoughts in his head.

Moments later the door opens, and a priest walks in. He introduces himself as Father Nikolay Vasilov (Kiril Erdenov), and that he has been assigned to be Dimitri's spiritual advisor on death row. Dimitri laughs him off, saying that he doesn't need God in his life, for God has never had a purpose for him. However, he still takes the priest on for the sake of the company and the humor of it. Father Nikolay tries to persuade him to reexamine his life and see if he is in need of real change, and when Dimitri tries to brush this off, Father Nikolay becomes disgusted by the man's attitude and decides to leave. Both depart unhappy with the other.

One the priest leaves, Dimitri, faced with nothing else to do, decides to take a look back over his life. He recalls his carefree childhood, being mediocre throughout school, and then living a carefree life on his own. He remembers the parties he used to attend, the friends he used to hang out with, and the women he used to make love to. Eventually, the life of carefree pleasure began to bore him. He found the old haunts and old ways of living were no longer satisfying. He turned to drugs next, just to get a fix of pleasure in his life. When this also began to ran its course, Dimitri turned down darker roads. Thinking over his life, he wonders if it ever meant anything. He realizes that along the way, there were many opportunities he had to take care, but had simply ignored. For the first time, he begins to question whether or not he had indeed lived life wrongly.

Father Nikolay sits in his study, trying to read the scriptures, but find he cannot focus. His mind is too wrapped around the blatant non-caring attitude of Dimitri, and begins to question God- how could a man who is on death row be so carefree? The more he thinks, the angrier he becomes, before realizing that he has to stand down and calm himself. He thinks he is letting his personal feelings get in the way- he knows what is right. Clearly, he has to simply get the main to know what is right and wrong, and that will set things to right. Otherwise, the man would be doomed to hellfire. However, Nikolay wonders if hellfire really would be better for the man.

When Nikolay comes for the next session, Dimtri is already less flippant and ready to talk more at length. He tells Father Nikolay that he has considered his life, and declares that he has wasted it- he never took the time to care, and that that has caused him to squander the time he has already spent. Father Nikolay is shocked that he has come so far, and tells him that he is exactly right. He then asks what Dimitri going to do to make his life not be a waste. Dimitri says that he doesn't know where to turn. When Father Nikolay tries to tell him to look to Christ, Dimitri angrily tells him off, saying that he doesn't want to be preached at, and that his attitude towards God is still the same. Nikolay tells Dimitri that not much time his death, and now that he has come this far, to consider the death which is in front of him. Dimitri scoffs that all men die anyway, and tells the priest to leave.

Back in the Church, Father Nikolay is in prayer, struggling to know what to do next. The ordeal with Dimitri and his actions has left deep scars in him, and he notes that he has been struggling with his faith ever since the day the incident happened. How could a merciful God allow such evil to take place, and how for a man to become so vile? He of course knows the theological arguments for why, but says his heart cannot understand what his mind does. He pleads God to give him some kind of answer, but there is no reply. Frustrated, Nikolay walks out of the Church, leaving it empty behind him.

In his cell, Dimitri sits to himself, and casually notes that his execution is scheduled in a week. He then realizes that this means he only has seven days to live. He begins to think more and more about it, and then realizes that whether he likes it or not, that death is coming to him. He begins to panic, asking himself more and more questions about what death means. What was death? How would it affect him? Could the priest's nonsense religion actually be true? What if there was a hell? Would he have to pay for his crimes? What if it was just nothingness? What meaning did life have then if that was all there was to it? Why was he even born, if only to die? Death, which had never been on his mind until that point, becomes much more real to him. After the moment of crisis passes, he is left sobbing, pitiful and alone, on the dark prison cell floor.

The next session, Nikolay and Dimitri remained silent. Dimitri explained to the priest his fear of death, which the priest said was natural, and a sign of a good progression. However, Dimitri complained that he was worse than when he began- he had no idea as to the purpose of his existence and was back at square one. The priest says that these are questions which everyone faces, but now Dimitri finally has the courage to confront them. Dimitri questions if the priest has ever had to face the crisis that he is undergoing, to which the priest coldly responds indeed he has- ever since that the woman Dimitri murdered was his sister. When Dimitri tries to deny his fault before the priest, the priest angrily strikes him before walking out, leaving Dimitri alone.

In his cell, Dimitri considers the circumstances which led to the fateful day- becoming intoxicated, assaulting the woman, and then slitting her throat after taking his pleasure- that was what landed him in this current position. He had not given much fault to it- after all, had he really been responsible for doing something while he was under the influence? The more he considers it, he is not only responsible for getting inebriated in the first place, but also for the state of life which allowed for the circumstances to take place- his life of willful ignorance and depravity. It was squarely his responsibility, and he was being justly punished for it. How many people's lives had he affected by his actions- how many people has he brought to ruin, like him? Not just the woman he murdered- but the people who knew her as well. How had the priest even come to him in the first place? As he realizes the gravity of his actions, he begins to break down and weep at the thought of just how despicable his life is. The situation gets worse over the next few days as the priest does not show up for the sessions, and Dimitri falls into abject despair, wanting nothing more than the end to all the pain.

Father Nikolay refuses to go back, instead focusing on his duties around the parish, frustrated both with God and with Dimitri. The man refused to accept the blame for his sister's death, and God has continued to be silent during the following days. He begins to celebrate the Divine Liturgy lacking his usual enthusiasm and vigor, only for his bishop to notice his lack of interest on a visit. When questioned about it, Nikolay explains the problems he is facing, and his newfound lack of faith and the hardness of forgiveness. The bishop simply tells him to go and speak with Dimitri again, telling him to try and understand the very soul of the man he refuses to forgive, and not to judge him superficially. Before sending him off, he reminds him that it was never his duty to convert- only the grace of God brings about true conversion, both in our heart and in others.

Father Nikolay finds Dimitri in his cell three days before the execution, and finds him mentally wrecked and unresponsive. Father Nikolay tries to get Dimitri to speak, but Dimitri dismisses him, saying that life is pointless and death is the only thing which can relieve him from his suffering. Father Nikolay, however, refuses to leave his side, quietly praying throughout the night beside him. Shocked by the fact that this man whom he has wronged so deeply would stay with him, Dimitri eventually begins to speak with Nikolay, saying that he has indeed thought about his killing, and expresses his regret over the action. Nikolay, looking into Dimitri's eyes and seeing their honest sincerity, breaks down and embraces the man, and responds that he forgives him, and asks him for his pardon in being rude during their confrontations. Dimitri says that he forgives Nikolay, but does not know what to do from there. The two begin discussing the meaning of what it means to live, and how life is indeed worth living for the sake of the ultimate good. After a lengthy conversation, Dimitri finally understands what the whole meaning of his existence is, and asks to receive the sacraments and to come back to the faith. Father Nikolay agrees.

The final scene of the movie takes place in the courtyard of the prison, where Father Nikolay walks beside Dimitri as he is escorted to the gallows. The two exchange parting words, where Nikolay thanks Dimitri for helping him to improve and grow beyond his selfish desires, and Dimitri expresses his hope and joy for the life to come, and hopes that they may both meet again in the bosom of God's love. With Dimitri smiling as Father Nikolay gives him his final blessing, the rope swings. The movie fades out from the scene and into the credit with a church choir singing the 129th Psalm.


From the Depths has a very small cast, with only four speaking roles, two of which, the unnamed bishop and Amilia Vasilova, only appear in one scene respectively. The vast majority of the dialogue and camera time is focused on the two main actors alone.



Design and effects


Critical response