PLEASE NOTE: There is some cruelty to animals shown in parts of this film.
Yakov Bok, an educated, but impoverished, Jew in Czarist Russia, is deserted by Raisl, his unfaithful wife, and leaves his small farm and travels to Kiev. It is during the time of pogroms and Yakov poses as a gentile, taking a job as a handyman to Lebedev, an alcoholic, anti-Semitic merchant. Yakov refuses to be seduced by Lebedev's crippled daughter Zinaida, and the hysterical girl tries unsuccessfully to accuse him of rape. Despite this threat to his job, Yakov's intelligence keeps him in good standing with Lebedev, and he is promoted to factory overseer-accountant. Yakov alienates the foreman, Proshko, and is plagued by the bothersome neighborhood boys. When one of the boys is brutally murdered, the superstitious people believe the killing to be a "ritual murder" perpetrated by the Jews. Yakov, whose true background has been discovered, is arrested and treated as a convicted murderer, although no specific charges are made. His only ally is Bibikov, a government attorney who realizes the State hopes to get a confession from Yakov in order to indict the whole Jewish population. Bibikov suspects the dead boy was slain by his mother's lover, and when he begins to probe into the case more deeply, his "suicide" is quickly arranged. As time passes, the imprisoned Yakov suffers indignities and torture but refuses to confess. Eventually, as he grows stronger in his determination, his case attracts international concern and the Czar is forced to schedule a formal trial. Three years after his arrest, as Yakov arrives for his trial, he is acclaimed a hero by the crowd.
DVD-R is in English with no subtitles. Approx. 126 mins. See film sample for audio and video quality!