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In July 1942, in the Second World War, the rearguard of the Red army protects the bridgehead of the Don River against the German army while the retreating soviet troops cross the bridge. While they move back to the Russian territory through the countryside, the soldiers show their companionship, sentiments, fears and heroism to defend their motherland. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sergei Bondarchuk is a great director. He has proved it with War and Peace, with Waterloo and now again with They Fought for Their Moterhland.
The film looks great. It's amazing how Bondarchuk can translate a world to film and still make it feel very real. The production is great, except for some minor things (tank turrets don't move). When I watched this film, I got the feeling that the whole world was at war. Not only these soldiers somewhere in Russia, but that they were just small parts in a big world conflict.
Most people always complain about the acting in Russian movies. That doesn't go for this one. It all feels very natural. The pain they show looks real, their sweat is there and I cannot imagine it with other actors (or acting method). Sergei Bondarchuk himself plays a role and he shows that he cannot only direct, but also act.
What I loved the most, is that this film shows war as I think it is. There are humans, the enemy is just a dot far away and every fight there are losses. Russians and Germans bleed alike. The Soviet flag is shown and it's clear who we are supposed to root for, but the main characters aren't heroes. They fight because they are told too, not because they are tough.
The music is like the music of War and Peace; not really pleasant to listen to, but it's perfect for the film. When an act of horror is shown, voices rise as if they complain. A requiem to humanity.
They Fought for their Motherland is bit like Spielbergs Saving Private Ryan; only without the misplaced heroism and with that touch of humanity.
Maybe not for everyone (since their is a delicate balance between spectacle, humanity and of course philosophy), but when you are looking for more aspects of war than just the heroic stereotype combat, go for this.
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