During WWII in a small village outpost, a commander has his troop replaced by an all female unit. As they finally begin to appreciate one another, German paratroopers are spotted nearby and the realities of war emerge.
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Based on the eponymous book by Boris Vasilyev, the film is set in Karelia (North-West of Russia, near Finland) in 1941 during WWII. In a beautiful and quiet wilderness far from the front-line there is an anti-aircraft artillery point, where corporal Vaskov is stationed with a group of many young women in training. One of the women while sneaking from camp to visit her young son sees two German paratroopers. Vaskov takes five of the women to stop the two paratroopers, but finds sixteen paratroopers instead, leaving the small group of patriots to engage the enemy in an unequal fight. Written by
"In reality 4-5 unexperienced women and one man (even if he is a genial soldier) would have no chance again 16 Gebirgsjäger."
I very well understand how an implausible script could kill the effort of a good director and fabulous actors. I understand equally well that some would dismiss this film as mostly Soviet propaganda simply because the story of German paratroopers meeting serious resistance from just a few inexperienced girls does not ring true. Well, strangely enough, the film (and the novel) are fact-based. Of course, this is not a documentary and, according to Boris Vasiliev, there were no women in the actual group of militia men stopping 16 Gebirgsjäger on a mission to cause serious discruption to the Murmansk railway. But otherwise the story was true! For me, swapping old militia men and wounded soldiers for young girls is perfectly excusable.
Very touching and very Russian.
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