This 52-minute stirring documentary shows the consequence of war, political intrigue, and international turmoil on the music of Bartok, Lutoslawski and Shostakovich. These three major European composers of the twentieth century struggled for artistic authenticity in an era of extreme social change. Influenced by a rising tide of national consciousness, each succeeded in leaving his unique mark on his country's classical musical heritage. The documentary examines Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4, and Lutoslawski's Venetian Games in particular, while shedding light on other powerful works by these composers as well. If it ever was in doubt, the film underscores the visceral connection between music and politics. It shows how, amid the upheaval of war and in the face of Soviet artistic repression, these artists were able to tell truths in their music that, if told in words, might actually have cost them their lives.