Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.
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Based upon a short story by Leo Tolstoy, two Russian soldiers, Sacha and Vania, are ambushed by Muslim rebels in the grandly forbidding Caucasus and taken prisoner. Although complete understanding never fully emerges, their bittersweet ordeal reveals the human soul of two vastly different cultures. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
The film was shot within 20 miles of actual battles then occurring between Russians and Chechens. Local Muslim guerrillas served as bogyguards for the cast and crew. The film tells the story of two prisoners of war, but truth is stranger than fiction: when the guerrillas found out that amateur actress Susanna Mekhraliyeva was paid for her job in U.S. dollars they took the whole film crew prisoner! Her salary was soon changed for Russian rubles and the shooting continued as if nothing had happened. See more »
After Sacha and Vanya escape and remove the shackles from their ankles, they begin running upstream. The scene cuts to a different angle, and they are running downstream. See more »
You are like a dog now. It's not a shame for a dog to smell bad.
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the most poetic approach on antimilitarism and war madness
The simple story of two men captured an imprisoned in a small village develops actually to one of the most poetic and effective peace messages of our times. Based on stable and very well described characters and by the use of magical photography of a small village in Caucausus the movie helps us face the tragedy of war and the madness of human conflict as well.
The movie is about two Russians captured by the rebels, kept as hostages by an old man whose son is also in prison by the Russians. Since the old man wants to trade the two Russians with his son he insists that they must not be killed, he keeps them as a hope for his own tragical mission, to rescue his own son, despite the fact that other rebels want hostages killed. One of the Russians, actually a young and unexperenced soldier ends up respecting that small village. The relations among villagers and hostages, the deep human touch between the young Russian and the niece of the old man become the real story in the middle of the war.
The viewer confronts since the very beginning what war is about, the importance of human existence and life and the madness of human conflicts. Above all is life, creativity (the youg Russian repairs clocks), laugh and drink. While poverty and sadness reigns in the village tradition and human figures seem to survive. Those human values survive for a few moments before reality shows the cruel side of life once again. The movie is extremely poetic, images and folkloric scenes are well dressed with silent and simple russian music, silence and well developed scenes (the old man loading his son's dead body, the mother of the Russian and the old man meet each other as ennemies with the same feelings though as parenthood is above all wars, the young Russian is afraid to die).
Although the actors are not famous you will appreciate the natural talent of the actor playing the old man, a perfect tall-thin shape which dominates the screen. This movie is a must, a call of nature of humanism, a message which can't lose its modernity.
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