Based on the Novel by Boris Vasilyev and written/directed by acclaimed Russian film-maker Stanislav Rostotsky; The Dawns are Quiet Here is a quintessential Soviet war film (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in 1972). Produced in the 1970's, filmed in black and white, released amongst a fusilladed period of patriotic Soviet war films, The Dawns Are Quiet Here preserves kindred history with dignity and represents female soldiers of the Red Army with merit.
The Dawns is a small Anti-Aircraft company in the Quiet Karelia Soviet district during the Second World War. Browned-off with the Companies ill-disciplined, drunken, fraternising behaviour, the Soviet big-wheels replace this rag-tag company with an all-female company. Warrant Officer Vaskov struggles commanding these teenage-girls. The spirited all-female company; dance, dream, rebel, co-operate and tease like young girls do. Brazenly, in one scene take a fully-naked communal traditional Russian steam-sauna together (you did not get racy scenes like that in: The Longest Day!!) However, when these spirited girls are called into action they are no mitten floppers and seriously kick some Nazi ass with those ack-acks! In one scene mercilessly shooting a descending German fly-boy who has parachuted.
After one of the women discovers two German soldiers in the forest nearby, Vaskov leads five of his female group to go and capture them. Unfortunately this leads them to a larger than expected German Elite Paratrooper platoon. The six under-equipped Russians have to be quick-witted to survive and prevent them from making headway. Demonstratingly, Vaskov learns to respect them as soldiers.
The Dawns Here Are Quiet is a film of two halves. The first sets the scene and introduces us to the girls and their backstories. The backstories are surreal and very noticeably 1970's in cinematic tone(the only segments of the film that are filmed in colour). Bizarrely, it took me several dreamy flash-back scenes to realise they were individual characters back-stories. Disjoined as they were, If I had left the room and returned during one of these scene, I could be excused for thinking I was watching a different film altogether. The second act concerns their mission to hunt for the Hun. Rarely do we venture back to see the rest of the soldiers. There is a hammering shift in tone as the film remorselessly becomes a deadly pursuit in the marsh ridden Forest. The out-numbered girls, baptised under-fire display courage; the Sergeant displays consolation and many of the Elite German Paratroopers, as well as our young heroines are picked off one-by-one.
The Dawns Are Quiet Here is a sterling benevolent period soft-in-tone combat movie. Unsurprisingly, give the date of production it now feels that it belongs in a past era. I would recommend this authentic film to any dedicated Soviet film follower. Recommend it to anyone who is studying Russian history or The Eastern Front. And, recommend it to anyone possessing an interest of the Soviet Army during the Second World War. In addition, there is a fine frame-by-frame modern Russian television re-make of this film aired in 2014.
Unforgettably, The dawns Are Quiet Here pays merited honour, respect and admiration to the female fighters in the Red Army. In consolable, Many of these brave Russian GI Jane's were in their teens, early twenties or just beginning a family. Woefully, Countless numbers never returned home from the battle fields.
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