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The Commissar (1967)

Komissar (original title)
Klavdia Vavilova, a Red Army cavalry commissar, is waylaid by an unexpected pregnancy. She stays with a Jewish family to give birth and is softened somewhat by the experience of family life.

Director:

Writers:

, (story "V gorode Berdicheve")
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Klavdia Vavilova
...
Yefim Mahazannik
Raisa Nedashkovskaya ...
Maria Mahazannik
Lyudmila Volynskaya ...
The Grandmother
...
The Commandant
Lyubov Kats ...
(as Lyuba Kats)
Pavel Levin ...
(as Pavlik Levin)
Dmitri Kleyman ...
(as Dima Kleyman)
Marta Bratkova
Igor Fishman
Sergey Nikonenko
Otar Koberidze
Viktor Shakhov ...
(as V. Shakhov)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leonid Reutov ...
(as L. Reutov)
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Storyline

Klavdia Vavilova, a Red Army cavalry commissar, is waylaid by an unexpected pregnancy. She stays with a Jewish family to give birth and is softened somewhat by the experience of family life. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1988 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

The Commissar  »

Box Office

Gross:

$388,029 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After making the film, Aleksandr Askoldov lost his job, was expelled from the Communist Party, charged with social parasitism, exiled from Moscow, and banned from working on feature films for life. He was told that the single copy of the film had been destroyed. Mordyukova and Bykov, major Soviet movie stars, had to plead with the authorities to spare him of even bigger charges. The film was shelved by the KGB for twenty years. See more »

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User Reviews

 
a minor classic of Soviet realism
12 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The biggest surprise about this little seen Soviet drama (revived in the late 1980s) isn't that it was banned for two decades, but that it was ever made at all. The film is openly critical of the Revolution, but not from behind the fancy metaphoric camouflage used in other repressed Iron Curtain features. Instead, it offers a direct and sensitive story of a dedicated but pregnant Red Army Commissar who, sometime during the 1930s, finds shelter with a Jewish family and is transformed by their affection. In the end she has to choose between motherhood and the Motherland, but her decision to follow military duty does nothing to diminish her new found sympathy for her surrogate family, and before rejoining her company (slogging through an unglamorous landscape of Ukrainian ice and mud) she entrusts her baby to the care of people (and, by extension, a tradition) she has learned to love. Stylistically, the film is a mix of poetic realism with occasionally self-conscious (but effective) montage flashbacks, plus one haunting flash-forward anticipating the Holocaust.


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