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
What most of the foreign viewers perhaps don't understand is that the factual side of the movie has always been a common knowledge among millions of Russians especially those of older generations. People like me, who were born 10-15 years after the war ended, knew it all along first hand from the stories told by parents and grandparents actually living through those times and events. My own mother at the age of seven was thrown by German soldiers into a barn that got lit, her front teeth were knocked out by the butt of a German soldier's rifle and she, along with tenth of other village kids, was saved by my grand-mother and other villagers only because some partisans had chosen to attack and deliberate the village that day. What most of Western viewers find horrifying, shocking and disturbing is nothing but the truth being accurately depicted by some later movie makers. This movie is pretty much like a documentary that could actually be shot with the help of some sort of a "time machine" in case there was one in 1985 when the movie got filmed.
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