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The Ascent (1977)

Voskhozhdenie (original title)
| Drama, War | 1977 (Norway)
In a freezing cold World War II winter, two pro-Soviet partisans - Sotnikov and Rybak - head off to find food for themselves and their compatriots. They find a goat at the home of a German ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
... Sotnikov
... Rybak
... Village elder
... Demchikha
... Basya
... Portnov, the Nazi interrogator
... Village elder's wife
... Stas'
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
... Boy wearing Budenovka (as Serezha Kanishchev)
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Storyline

In a freezing cold World War II winter, two pro-Soviet partisans - Sotnikov and Rybak - head off to find food for themselves and their compatriots. They find a goat at the home of a German Headman but their return to camp is interrupted when they are arrested by a Nazi patrol. Taken prisoner, Sotnikov stands true to his beliefs and refuses to answer any questions despite physical abuse and torture. Rybak on the other hand argues that since they know nothing, they should simply tell them all that they know and do whatever they can to stay alive. One of them will live, but at a very heavy cost. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

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Mosfilm [rus]

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Release Date:

1977 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

The Ascent  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film directed by Larisa Shepitko. See more »

Quotes

Sotnikov: [Imprisoned, Sotnikov and Rybak are arguing whether to speak with Germans or not] We're soldiers. Soldiers. Don't crawl in shit. You'll never wash it off.
Rybak: So then, to the grave - to feed the worms. Right?
Sotnikov: That's not the worst that could happen. No. That's not what I'm talking about. Now I understand. I understand. The important thing is to be true to yourself.
Rybak: Fool! You're a fool, Sotnikov. You graduated from the institute for nothing. I want to live! To live! To kill those bastards! Understand?...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
So powerful once will be enough
11 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is one of the very, very few films that are so overwhelming that you are very unlikely to watch it more than once or twice in your lifetime (other examples are Claude Lanzmann's documentary Shoah and Come and See by the director's husband Elem Klimov - which covers much the same unbearable territory but in a very different way).

I suppose this is just as well given the difficulty of ever seeing a print.

Apparently it's extraordinarily overt Christian symbolism and admission that there were active Russian collaborators, ensured that it was hardly ever seen in the USSR - and of course post-soviet Russia has very little interest in films of that era.

The one time I saw it in London was in a festival of Russian movies shown during the Glasnost era (i.e. probably c.1988) - however it apparently has been shown several times in the UK more recently so at least one subtitled print must exist here.

As far as I know it has never been released in the west on DVD or video so if you haven't seen it, your best chance is probably to join a film society and endlessly nag them to find a print and screen it.


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