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An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
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During WWII, a Belarusian boy is thrust into the atrocities of war, fighting with a hopelessly unequipped Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces. Witnessing scenes of abject terror and surviving horrifying situations, he loses his innocence and then his mind. Written by
The best true-to-life war movie I have ever seen, and possibly the best movie I have ever seen. My eyes were opened when I saw this for the first time a few days ago. It made me realise what I miss 99% of the time when watching movies. So few affect me like this one did.
No special effects of note, no big budget, no set-pieces of note, no heroes, no redemption. I feel quite sure the director has really captured what war 'feels' like - unlike Spielberg and Coppola's depictions of war, this director lived through WW2 and the horrific siege of Stalingrad, as well as spending many months researching the massacres in Belarus, one of which he depicts in this film (this from the DVD extras, well worth watching).
The direction, cinematography, soundtrack and AMAZING acting by a first-time untrained actor in the main role are faultless, in my humble opinion.
I found this film depressing and emotionally draining, but cannot wait to watch it again.
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