I don't know why there's only few films about tank drivers or leaders, although tanks are among the most cinematic of all vehicles: frightening, attractive, impulsive... These symbols of war are loaded with the kind of emotion that is the essence of cinema. Unfortunately they are mainly seen as external effects, and war is only rarely seen through tank crew's eyes. Luckily we have "Zhavoronok", a Soviet masterpiece that almost makes any other tank film seem unnecessary.
The story is about four POW's who escape from Nazi testing ground driving a T-34, and are chased through Germany while the tank itself proves to be nearly invincible when handled the right way. The tone is heroic, but not without ironic touches. The story has been handled with even more appealing sense of action than the American WW2 films of the time, although it's makers never forget to add exciting (and deeply Soviet/Russian) sequences with nightmares and absurd visions.
"Zhavoronok" is a quite rare film. I myself have seen it only on VHS-tape I bought from Moscow. It didn't have even subtitles, although it didn't need them. I sincerely hope that now, on the era of DVD's, "Zhavoronok" will make it's way to foreign markets, so that western viewers could also find this astonishing chase movie.
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