Chukhrai's visual wonder -- love and dreams doomed by war
Quite a filmmaker this Chukhrai was. Not much available from him, but I am happy to have seen two of his movies. "The Forty-first" perhaps wasn't as great as the wonderful "Ballad of a Soldier", but this is still quite an interesting film. Both of these films are war films, but contrary to what one might expect these films are told in a rather romantic, light-hearted, Hollywood style. Both films do have tragic elements which present themselves as the films progress, but they are largely rather light and enjoyable, even charming romance pictures of loved ones being torn apart and doomed by war. This story was started here with "The Forty-first" and would be perfected in "Ballad of a Soldier".
The script isn't particularly strong here, but where this film really stands out is in its visuals. An utterly stunning visual work from Chukhrai. I'm not sure I have seen a color film look like this one before! You have to see it to understand. Additionally, it's just constantly a visually dynamic film in Chukhrai's camera-movement and use of close-ups. The film is at the very least continually visually interesting and at its peak just stunning to look at. There's a really rich, dreamy atmosphere that develops by the end of the movie, and it makes for a quite unique viewing experience.
The ending is both quite outlandish but also tragic. Not too sure what to completely make of it. Then again, this was never a film which really strived for any kind of realism, so its over the top nature isn't too jarring with the rest. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like it.
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