We join an eleven-year-old Polish boy who is petulant about being left out of a family holiday trip to Venice. He has memorized the main tourist attractions, the general layout of the canals and even speaks a little Italian. Problem is, WWII interferes and all family plans must be abandoned.

When his mother drops him off at his grandmother's country mansion, he refuses to see the advantages of living with her and his three aunts.

As time passes, he meets a saucy housemaid (who smokes cigarettes!), gets reacquainted with a cousin who leaves offerings for a saint in a little birdhouse-looking box on a tree, and plays with a Jewish boy his age who loves the violin.

To his delight, a water leak floods their basement and he is free to create his own personal Venice. As the Nazis march into Poland, we see atrocities begin to mount. My dread increased until the film became almost unwatchable.

This 2011 Seattle International Film Festival entry from Poland has won numerous awards for photography, set design, costumes and sound. It is a beautiful art piece; it's just deucedly difficult to sit through!