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A Russian journalist gets in trouble in Rotterdam.
Vaarwel Pavel (Farewell Pavel) is set in two cities. In Rotterdam we follow the Russian reporter Alexei Petrov. He is staying in a scruffy hotel for an investigation into Russian ships that have been detained in the harbour and writes an article about female slavery. His contact with a Russian prostitute gets him into trouble when he tries to get her a forged passport. While Alexei becomes entrapped in a criminal web in the West, his 14-year-old son Pavel is searching for his father in St. Petersburg and is taking his first steps on the path to love.
The events in both cities run almost parallel, but are told from different perspectives of time. After a while, there is a shift. For Pavel, who is on his way to adulthood, time passes at increasing speed, while for Alexei, who feels increasingly threatened, time seems to stand still.