This film was commissioned by Soviet Television for VGIK students to make a film to be aired on Victory Day, the anniversary of the Capitulation of Nazi Germany in WWII, May 9, 1959. It was aired each year on this day for at least 4 years beginning with the initial 1959 broadcast. The film was made by several students at VGIK, including Andrei Tarkovsky, as well as a few professional actors and local residents of the town of Kursk, and the Soviet Army supplied props and extras. It was filmed in Kursk between October 1958 and January 1959 and edited at VGIK between January and April 1959. The film was lost after it stopped being broadcast in the 1960s, but the camera negatives were discovered in the mid-1990s. See more »
I never much liked the poor visual style of the most soviet films I've seen. But this one caught my attention, for that it's very stylishly done.
The short film tells a story of a little soviet town where during roadworks a stockpile of WWII bombshells was discovered buried under the ground. The town gets evacuated & the army men have to remove the discovery accurately so that it doesn't blow away the buildings nearby. Tarkovsky even threw in some subplots. One being a man who was in the army during WWII and offered his help. The other - a surgeon, operating a wounded person in the evacuated town's hospital.
The film is fast paced and very well done. It holds an atmosphere of tension, makes the viewer fear that the shells will explode any second. Scenes are cleverly composed and memorable with first time appearances by famous Russian actors Leonid Kuravlyov and Stas Liubshin. The film's title comes from Kuravlyov character's line: "Yes, bro, seems like there will be no leave today". Probably the best short I've ever seen.
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