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Incredible, sad journey, testing the limits of humanity and hope
I just saw this film and I loved it. From the first few minutes I could tell that this was an especially higher budget, stylishly shot Gerasimov film. It's about a man who fought in WW2, was captured by the Nazis and put into different concentration camps, witnessed much cruelty, after his liberation fate took him to Argentina, to work for a German landowner and his Russian wife, then he goes to live in Germany, working as a chauffeur for a rich family, after becoming disillusioned there he returns home to Russia after about 17 years of being away. The film begins with a mother and daughter meeting him on their drive to visit relatives. Before any of the above happened, the man saved the mother's life during the Leningrad Blockade, he picked her up frozen and unconscious from the snow, took her home and fed her so she wouldn't die. After the blockade ended it took her 5 years to find her daughter. The rest of the film is the trios trip across 1960's beautiful Russia, and the flashbacks of the man's long incredible story. Insanely beautifully shot, filled with emotion. One of Gerasimov's best and most important films. Tells of the importance of saving your humanity. If you liked "Ballad of a Soldier" this film is very similar in it's beauty of human spirit, it's kindness and sadness, it hits all the same emotions. Recommend to absolutely everyone, especially Russian people because it's about a Russian person away from his homeland who holds close to his heart all the values of his birthplace. 10/10
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