Moscow, June 1941. Nina Sinitsyna and Ilya Borisov live on opposite sides of a stairwell landing in an apartment building; she, the daughter of a seamstress, in a crowded "kommunalke" ("communal apartment"), and he, a medical student and the son of a famous surgeon, in a spacious, private, single-family apartment. They are deeply in love, but, enforcing the rigid class boundaries of this "classless society", their parents have forbidden them to see each other. Still, they hope to marry, and often secretly meet. Suddenly, Nazi Germany treacherously attacks Russia, and the Great Patriotic War (WWII) begins. Ilya's father soon leaves for the front to oversee a hospital train that provides medical care for wounded soldiers, while Ilya continues medical school in Moscow. Nina joins the service and trains to become a "prozhektorist", an anti-aircraft searchlight operator. Her job is to spot and light-up enemy bombers during nighttime air-raids, so that anti-aircraft gunners can target them ... Written by
Did You Know?
All the aerial combat seen is actual Soviet and captured German archival footage from WWII, never seen before in the west. It is historically accurate to the time frame of the story. The ill-fated Soviet fighter plane actually depicted intercepting and attacking the German bombers is a Yakovlev Yak-1, which was the fighter in use at the time. The Yak can be easily identified in the archival footage as being from this series: the pilot has removed the sliding portion of the canopy. (The Yak-1 had a design flaw in its canopy that caused the sliding portion to jam shut at high air-speeds. To avoid being trapped inside a crashing plane, the pilots often simply removed it.) See more