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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Treasure of an Epic Story almost unknown in the West

Author: Ernst Wiltmann from Parry Sound/ Ontario
31 August 2007

I love the new Russian Cinema and their television productions. So much in fact, that I started, just started to learn the Russian language. Those productions are of the highest quality in almost every respect. Like in acting, historical detail, studio - sets, special effects (no need to hide behind Hollywood anymore), and the quality of unformulated story - telling. I got so hooked on new Russian movies, that I look up weekly on "What's New" on,, and so on. So I stumbled over this truly remarkable miniseries, marketed as "AL'KA" (Surroundet), on I doesn't matter much if you do not in possession of the Russian language, the acting and the action speak for themselves: Russia June 1941, somewhere in a big city, could be Moscow or Leningrad (St Petersburg), two young Ballerinas aspiring for fame on Stage. The film starts with some beautiful sceneries in an old historic royal building for Ballet - Students. Accompanied by some enchanting classical tones like in most Russian movies. Art is here much more valued as in the overly commercialized west. We are introduced into the characters of friends and family of the main character Nastya (played by the hauntingly petite and beautiful Irina Apeksimova). An environment with a love to live and create. This idyll is shattered by Hitlers invasion of Russia , on June the 22nd of 1942. Nastya is so very moved by the events, that She wants to do something about it. She joins the army together with Her fellow Ballerina Yelena. Both starting as army - field nurses, until Yelena gets killed at their first mission. This fills Nastya with rage, that she decides to join the fighting troops. The men are not thrilled about her idea, but she soon proves herself in battle. Everyone underestimates her capabilities, because of her petite and fragile appearance. But this appearance is deceiving. Nastja possesses nerves of steel, extreme fast reactions. Moving like a tigress with deadly precision. Precission that she has mastered in Ballet. A very deadly Amazon Warrioress. No, this movie is not based on fiction, I have learned this character existed as a Heroin of the Soviet Union. Fraglie petite and also delicate it does not take her long to earn the friendship and the concern of her fellow soldiers and superiors, often with some hilarious results. Comrades noted the poorly issued boots for Nastya and decided to swap them with the boots of Major Lyuba, a female surgeon serving with the elite scout unit, Nastja has become a member of. Using some "monkey business" , they accomplish that. Tragig moments are not dominating this picture, it is not without some comic relief, that only true live stories can pull off. There are attempts of pulling Nastya out of the front lines, because nobody wants her to perish, but Nastya resists. She got so good at capturing German soldiers and sometimes high ranking officers, that she is often desperately needed. Remarkable a scene of a mission, that ends with the tragic death of one of her fellow soldier, who got killed in this action, because an overeager superior officer could not contain himself to the original battle-plan. In her rage, she struck him down with her tiny fist, after the battle. The officers Macho Ego is hurt, and a tribunal is set in motion. But eventually suspended, when Nastya is desperately needed again. Nastya unlike this officers does not believe in inflated Egos. Sometimes the soldiers need to forget the war and go on flings when the situation allows. Like a good comrade, Nastja joins in. When caught like entering a female staff compound for some sex and liqueur, she outs herself with the men or boys. You will follow Nastja from the early periods of the war, right into the street-battles of Berlin. All shown in 5 very short hours. A journey western viewers should not miss. Sometimes after the action scenes the movie will arrest you in it's humanity, something you hardly see in Hollywood movies. There are moments of tears and tragic recognitions, followed by immense joy, and the joy of having survived it all. Shared with the Survivors. I hope to sway the Russian company who produced this true masterpiece, to release a version with English subtitles. I believe it to be highly profitable.

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