The first Estonian feature film after the WW II, "Life in the Citadel" deals pretty much with the same matters as the first German post-WW II film "The killers are among us" (1946). The war ends, Russians arrive as the "liberators" and those who were collaborating with the Nazis are sought out and punished. It's all about guilt and payment, and Soviets are the ones who deal in justice. Everything ends in festive adoration of the new power and Comrade Stalin.
"The Citadel" is a family estate, a microcosm which tries hard to ignore that the world is changing and pretending that come what may, the life and daily routine of a dignified family should move on along the traditional course regardless of war.
It's a warning not to take a neutral standpoint: the Soviets treated neutrals as enemies, even though the propaganda is eager to show that with some gentle help from the Soviet officers, a neutral family soon recognizes their erring ways and ripen to embrace the Communist ideology.
The film is actually more of a filmed play - the action takes place indoors, in a large family house, where the members of the dynasty arrive from here and there - some pro-Soviet, some (the bad guys) pro-Nazi. It sounds more interesting than it is - the film was produced by Soviet team (Lenfilm) and is purest Soviet propaganda, directed to prove to the people of the newly occupied country that Russians have arrived to bring peace, prosperity and, above all, divine justice.
The sarcasm lies in the fact that the Soviet country itself was a vast closed citadel, blind to the changes outside its borders and eager to pretend unbearable happiness and prosperity, when the reality was decisively different.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this