Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
On the run and hiding in the deep forests of the then German-occupied Poland and Belorussia (World War II), the four Bielski brothers find the impossible task of foraging for food and weapons for their survival. They live, not only with the fear of discovery, contending with neighboring Soviet partisans and knowing whom to trust but also take the responsibility of looking after a large mass of fleeing Polish Jews from the German war machine. Women, men, children, the elderly and the young alike are all hiding in makeshift homes in the dark, cold and unforgiving forests in the darkest times of German-occupied Eastern Europe. Written by
The object the Bielskis take from their house is a mezuzah, a piece of parchment (often contained in a decorative case). A mezuzah is affixed to the door-frame of Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of the Shema "on the door-posts of your house". The parchment is inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). These verses comprise the Jewish prayer "Shema Yisrael", beginning with the phrase: "Listen, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." See more »
At one point in the movie, a title indicates "October 1941" yet the trees are as green as in summer-time. At this time of the year in that climate they would be half-bare and with mostly yellow leaves. Likewise, in April trees wouldn't be fully dressed with leaves yet, but rather just start to bloom. See more »
Good movie based on facts about resistance fighters in the Belarus forests
This is an interesting film about a bunch of Jews commanded by the Bielski brothers taking the Belorussia forests to shelter themselves from Nazi criminals . It is completely set in the woods which it does some claustrophobic . Splendid acting by all-star-cast . Nicely photographed by Eduardo Serra in colorful palette . Emotive and sensitive musical score by the great composer James Newton Howard. This is a true story , worth telling and stunningly directed in old-style by Edward Zwick .
The picture is inspired on real events based on the novel titled ¨Defiance : The Balski partisans¨ , being well adapted by Clayton Frohman and Edward Zwick . The actual events are the followings : The Bielski group's partisan (three brothers finely performed by Daniel Craig , Liev Schriever , Jamie Bell) activities were aimed to hold the Jewish community together and fight against the Nazis and their collaborators, such as Belarusian volunteer policemen or local inhabitants who had betrayed or killed Jews. They also conducted sabotage missions . The Nazi regime offered a reward for assistance in the capture of Tuvia (Daniel Craig) Bielski, and in 1943, led major clearing operations against all partisan groups in the area. Some of these groups suffered major casualties, but the Bielski partisans fled safely to a more remote part of the forest , and continued to offer protection to the noncombatants among their band . The Bielski group would raid nearby villages and forcibly seize food ; on occasion peasants who refused to share their food with the partisans were the subject of violence and even murder. This caused hostility towards the partisans from peasants in the villages, though some would help the Jewish partisans.The Bielski partisans eventually became affiliated with Soviet organisations in the vicinity of the Naliboki Forest under Russian General (in the movie Panchenko is played by Ravil Isyanov). Several attempts by Soviet partisan commanders to absorb Bielski fighters into their units were resisted, such that the Jewish partisan group retained its integrity and remained under Tuvia Bielski's command. This allowed him to continue in his dedication to protect Jewish lives along with engaging in combat activity, but would also prove a problem later on . The Bielski partisan leaders split the group into two units, one named Ordzhonikidze, led by Zus (Liev Schreiber), and the other Kalinin, commanded by Tuvia (Daniel Craig). According to partisan documentation , Bielski fighters from both units killed a total of 381 enemy fighters , sometimes during joint actions with Soviet groups. 50 members of the group were killed. In the summer of 1944, when the Soviet counteroffensive began in Belarus and the area was taken over by the Soviets, the Kalinin unit , numbering 1,230 men, women and children, emerged from the forest and marched into Nowogrodek.Despite their previous collaboration with the Soviets, relations quickly worsened. The NKVD started interrogating the Bielski brothers about the rumours of loot they had reportedly collected during the war, and about their failure to "implement socialist ideals in the camp". Asael Bielski (Jamie Bell) was conscripted into the Soviet Red Army and fell in the Battle of Königsberg in 1945. The remaining brothers escaped Soviet-controlled lands, emigrating West. After the war, Tuvia Bielski returned to Poland, then emigrated to present-day Israel in 1945. Tuvia and Zus eventually settled in the United States. They operated a successful trucking business. When Tuvia died in 1987, he was buried in Long Island, NY, but a year later, at the urging of surviving partisans in Israel, he was exhumed and given a hero's funeral at the hillside graveyard in Jerusalem. His wife, Lilka (Alexa Davalos), was buried beside him in 2001 . None of the Bielskis ever sought any recognition or reward for their actions.
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