Ashes in the Snow (2018) Poster

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Soul touching movie
vaida-6383423 October 2018
I have cried most of the movie - so touching and sensitive it is. Most of Lithuanians are well aware of the facts: people banishment to Siberia, their horrible travel and terrible living conditions there, deaths, illnesses, we've read books, we have listened stories of survivors. But to see this story on screen is as hard, as empowering - this trauma our nation carries through generations it keeps us strong and it keeps vulnerable at the same time. I keep wondering, what kind of nation we would be, if this would never happen, if these doctors, professors, artists, musicians, teachers would be alive and working for our country? I like the actors work very much, they did wonderful job, also the costumes are impressive as the camera work - amazing. The music is powerful and making cry - the national hymn in one of most unexpected and yet most reasoned place has left everybody I talked just speechless and breathless. I can understand, if for someone who is not familiar with our history, the movie might seem not so touching or important, but for us, Lithuanians it is.
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Seeing but not feeling it.
schuylerskye12 January 2019
For fans of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, the book from which it was adapted from, it was a disappointment. I have read the book so many times and it never fails to make my heart hurt. When I heard that it would be adapted into a movie, I prepared my heart and a box of tissues for it. I was so excited for it. Sadly, they were not needed. For non readers of the book, they would probably be more accepting of this movie. To the readers and fans, they kinda cheated on by removing parts of the book that were the most heartbreaking, changing certain parts in the story and overall failing to show and evoke emotions like despair, anger, hurt...emotions I certainly felt all throughout the book. There was nothing memorable with the movie. I did not connect with any of the characters. Tbh during some major plot points they decided to keep (although there were changes, most of them big ones), I was thinking this is it, this will be the part which would change my mind about this movie but after seeing it, my reaction was meh, that was it? They really could have done a better job with the screenplay. Will I watch it again? Sorry, hard pass for me. I'd just stick with the book.
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Baltic Schindler's List
KulliKaljulind29 November 2018
Without giving out the spoilers, it's not possible to say much. But look, I was sitting in the packed cinema hall and I had to sniff again when one of the bad guys started to smoke as I could smell the tobacco burning. And then, when there was a snowstorm, it felt like they turned the heating off. That's a first for me. Yes, it is close to home - I'm Estonian, so the scenario was the same in my country as it was in Lithuania. And in Latvia. And in Ukraine, and so on. Just replace the nazis SS with the communists NKVD and you get it why I referred to the Schindler's List. Brilliant acting, brilliant cinematography, everything worked really well together. Thanks! Please indulge yourselves and get some real cinema experience.
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Heartbreaking story
morozanzelika1 November 2018
A story of Lithuania, or other Baltic states is usually unseen, somewhere in the sidelines. Howeve this movie brings it forward and it's captivating, also cinematographically very beautiful. Could not hold back tears during the movie, but would watch it again and definitely recommend it. I hope this movie reaches the attention it deserves.
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Stalin's evil
ferguson-611 January 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. Most World War II films focus on the atrocities committed by Hitler's German forces, but this adaptation of Ruta Sepetys' novel ("Between Shades of Gray") reminds us of the evils under Stalin and the Russian seizure of the Baltic States. Director Marius A Markevicius delivers a feature film debut that is both historical drama and tale of human perseverance.

We have long since been educated on just how cruel humans can and have been to other humans, and director Markevicius - with a script from Ben York Jones (LIKE CRAZY, 2011) - doesn't shy away from the cruelty or atrocities, but he and cinematographer Ramunus Greicius capture the harshness and brutality of the Siberian environment, as well as the brief moments when those being held captive feel sparks of life.

Bel Powley (THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, 2015) stars as Lina, a young Lithuanian artist who lives with her family: mother Elena (Lisa Loven Kongsli, FORCE MAJEUR) and brother Jonas (Tom Sweet). The father/husband is played by Sam Hazeldine and we learn of his secret agenda and activism later in the film. When Russian troops forcibly remove mother and the two kids from their home, a long train ride ends with their working the fields in the Altai Labor Camp in Siberia.

Martin Wallstrom is excellent as Kretzky, a conflicted Russian soldier from the Ukraine. He's kind of persona non-grata on both sides, and as an outsider to the troops and the "devil" to the prisoners, he is somewhat of a sympathetic character. A year later (1942), the family and Officer Kretzky are shipped off to Laptev Sea in the Arctic Circle. This frozen tundra is no place for human beings and death seems preferable to freezing in misery. When giving the relocation order, Kretzky's commanding officer calls them "one big happy family in frozen hell". It's a great line. An acutely descriptive line.

Young Lina's childhood innocence has been shattered, but she possesses an inner strength that only such miserable circumstances could unveil. She carries on finding brief respites in her art and in fleeting romance with fellow prisoner Andrius (Jonah Hauer-King).

There is a story told, a legend really, about a fishing boat and its survivors - the correlation made late in the film. The devastating circumstances and desolate landscape are accompanied aptly by German composer Volker Bertelmann. But let's face it, war crimes against the innocent are tough to watch even in movie form, and this film, regardless of how expertly it's crafted, is relentless in bleakness - though heartfelt and sincere.
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A stunning story untold.
Yasio991 November 2018
Ashes in the Snow is absolutely beautiful. It unveils a forgotten part of history in a way that makes you experience the despair and horrid living conditions of the Soviet labor camps. Ashes drags a viewer through parts of cruelty, death, family drama, humiliation, romance and betrayal. And that's just a portion of what the prisoners had to go through. The cinematography is excellent and conveys gray and often woeful reality of prison camps. Landscape shots are deep, crisp and draw a gloomy view of Siberia, even though the movie is not shot there. Bel Powley gives a striking performance as Lina, though she looks a bit confused and sluggish in the beginning, her emotions and courage later are rather convincing. Kudos to Martin Wallström, who incarnated the most controversial and diverse character in the movie - Kretzsky. At some point you want to feel bad for him even if your conscience doesn't allow it. Soundtrack brought by Volker Bertelmann-Hauschka is very tense and peaks when Lina draws Komarov. In short, Ashes in the Snow is one of the greatest movies about the Soviet side of WW2 and its crimes, which sadly people are still unaware of. A must-see.
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heartbreaking and well done
anikalietuv14 January 2019
To someone who is not from the countries that were impacted by the soviet occupation, it may be difficult to see how this movie is an important re-telling of our history. To some it may be a small 'footnote' in all that's happened in our world's history, but as someone who's family was greatly affected by the Soviet occupation, I found this movie beautifully done and heartbreaking. Compared to the book, it left a lot to be desired but film adaptations are rarely just like the book. However, considering what they did, I thought they did a brilliant job and I would definitely watch it again. I'm sad to hear that many people didn't like it because i found it eye opening and well done. The acting, cinematography, and especially the fact that they brought in people who had actually lived through such a terrible time.
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Had potential but didn't reach it
J_198912 January 2019
I was intrigued by the idea of this film having seen various beautiful films depicting struggles throughout history that really capture the heart and make you feel something.

This film did not live up to the expectation.

There is very little that makes you care about the characters. There is not enough history for you to learn anything from it. The suffering endured was the same throughout, it felt like not enough was actually happening to keep me interested. By the time I got near the end I just found myself feeling glad it was almost over.

All in all, a disappointment.

I think I might go watch the pianist to remind myself that beautiful and heartfelt films really do exist.
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Yes, we can't have enough of these reminders but this is just an insipid tale
shanx2412 January 2019
No issues against the repeated stories related to Holocaust-ish themes. Humans learn very little as heinous bigotry-riddled genocide continues even today. But one hopes directors could find themes that at least have a plot that intrigues people, or something in the story to hold interest. This one is likely a good tale that will tug at your heartstrings if you're from a Russia-dominated country in the eastern bloc, but sorry, as a film this is vapid. So many threads could have gone places. They turn out to be nothing-burgers. A documentary tale of suffering in harsh winter. Even if you find this worth watching for it's long duration, no way is this 7.8 rating (as of this writing). Over time I suppose it'll correct itself to a 6 or so.
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Just watch it
dianytei1 November 2018
Everyone should know the real story of Lithuania history especially these events during soviet occupation.
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If you like moves that reject the Hollywood establishment, you'll love Ashes in the Snow
jennvirskus-6695912 January 2019
I'm stunned at the harsh reviews some critics are giving this movie, most who admit to not having read the book and clearly have NO idea about this part of history-and many who belittle the necessity of telling a story about Siberian deportees, one calling it a "footnote to history." BUT, that's why you SHOULD GO SEE Ashes in the Snow.

The book was adapted from Ruta Sepetys' bestselling young adult novel Between Shades of Gray, about a 15-year-old girl who is deported to Siberia along with her mother and younger brother (and by the way, the deportations were not limited to the World War II years but began in the 1930s and lasted well into the 1950s). One critic criticized a scene in which women and children are forced to build shelters with their bare hands and survive on bread and water; the movie is "inspired by" but that part is NOT FICTION. The types of events depicted absolutely did happen-those, and so much worse. If you read the novel, it's quite obvious it's written for a younger audience (you should still read it!) but that's because Ruta's goal was to reach students. The movie reflects this, and at times, events or dialogue are grazed over so as not to be too terrifying.

It's an ambitious story, especially to tell in under two hours, but at the very least, it's an admirable attempt. There have been countless movies dramatizing the horrors of Hitler's German, but far fewer about the atrocities committed in the Soviet Union under Stalin. And if nothing else, this movie is timely, as Russia engages in military action in Ukraine (having already annexed Crimea) and Putin has stated repeatedly that he wants the Baltic States back.

Bel Powley does a beautiful job as Lina, the movie's main character, and Swedish actor Martin Wallstrom is excellent as Kretzsky. When it has appeared at film festivals, the movie has met an overwhelmingly positive reception. And if you like films and filmmakers that reject the Hollywood establishment in favor of making the movie they believe needs to be made, you'll REALLY like Ashes in the Snow.
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A solid film to join the genre
boydpeters14 January 2019
Film was not a big-budget, multi continent blockbuster. But it was entertaining, and enjoyable, and achieved its objective. Overall well written, good screenplay, well edited. Captured the narrative (I assume that) they wanted us to have. Would I watch it again? I doubt it. Would I recommend it, maybe not recommend it, but if someone wanted to watch something in this class I would definitely suggest it. Full credit to all involved, if you are not sure if you want to watch it you should, they did it very well
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All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.
originalchc11 January 2019
I'm a native Latvian, born on 4th of May, 1990. This was the day our independence from soviets was finally gained de jure. It's year 2019 now where Merkel has forced an army of refugees on European continent. We didn't want any of them here. Why? Because we still have the "fruits" of soviet labor - almost half of our population is a Russian "minority". How did they get here you might ask? Did they always live here? Or were they invited? Did we invite them?

You see, our history is written in blood and tragedy. Baltic people were in these lands since the continent was inhabited. There were multiple Baltic tribes that lived in relative peace with each other. During the period of Hanseatic league our region (the Baltics) was living in prosperity. There were times of conflict, of course. Curonian tribe was well known for their military skills (archeological digs have shown them fighting against vikings even) but our region was always open to trade. 20th century put an end to all that prosperity. First the Nazi's, then the Soviets. It's hard to realize the extent of atrocities of both without having been there, but there is no doubt among Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians that what the Nazi's and Soviets did to our countries was genocide, plain and simple.

Sadly, people in Russia and in our own countries still have ambition to renew their "empire". Ask people in Georgia and Ukraine, they have fresh memories of our devilish neighbor's actions. And the Russian "minority" in each of our countries still acts as if these events didn't take place, bombards TV and internet media with propaganda and manipulated history. You can see them even in reviews of this movie. These people still refuse to learn our language even though our government has long sponsored education of minority schools from the budget of our country.

I could go on and on, but make no mistake - these people still live and breathe by the rule of the sword. Not all of them, especially in the province of Russia itself, but plenty to have your guard on. See the movie, try to imagine how your cozy existence might be crashed by being dragged out of your home in the middle of the night, your property confiscated and foreign nationals allowed to take over it, your family desecrated and deported to work in forced-labor camps somewhere far away. It seems like such a distant nightmare but a wise someone once said: "We are one political election cycle away from totalitarianism".

Sleep well.
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Excellent movie
tinamfazio16 January 2019
Movies are never as good as the book, but this movie deviates just enough from the storyline of the book to keep your interest while not imposing on the integrity of the book. Highly recommended.
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Not that good
denisstojko11 January 2019
Such a hard topic and they really didn't show us anything...wish they would make a better story.
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Strong mowie
rasa020217 January 2019
Strong movie ... Forcing to feel the horror of those days ...
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robertakuzaite3 December 2018
A heartbreaking family story and our country history.
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So close, yet so far
idonotexist14 January 2019
Total pun considering the distance to siberia. This movie aims for there, but gets bogged in a swamp outside moscow.

I wish i could file criminal charges against the production team because the way they managed to destroy such a captivating character should be criminal. Kretzsky, of course is who i am getting at. The potential setup of him was brilliant but it fizzled out into nothing. Then, about 3/4 of the movie in, his character gets a chance of redemption. And what does the movie do? Just absolutely nothing. If you do not get angered by how they threw away all their characters away you did not watch this movie.

The scenery was nice, the sets well made, the real life element capture was close to that of schindler's list. And that's all this movie has for it! All the raw emotion, personal struggle, complex relationships all the things they could have focused on in a movie about siberia (where NOTHING happens) they didnt. Instead it is just one scene of build up after another, then fizzle, then more of the same. No follow through, no culmination, no emotion.

At the end i couldn't care if any of them survived. The complete failure of this crew to attach the viewer to what should have been a sad tale of struggle cannot be forgiven.

And to further insult us, of course the propaganda message before titles roll just had to be there, because let's face it. Unless you literally typed it on the screen, nobody would have grasped what this was even about. It was that bad.
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Something was missing..
saniasinghania14 January 2019
This movie is something of that type, where you appreciate the scenes individually, but when put together, it absolutely makes no sense. Okay, this is what happened in the past. Okay, that you have showed us exactly what happened! But no! This is not HOW you show it to your audience! It must have a story ; a bottom line! I accept that many scenes did make me cry because the cast is super! And the cinematography is beautiful. But there was something missing.

I didn't get bored anywhere. The movie kept my heart still when i was trying to anticipate what will happen next. And for that 5/10 seems just fine 👍🏼
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dariusmil4 June 2019
Highly overrated movie! Could be done much better with a more interesting plot. Everyone knows the real story of those times and the movie didn't show anything special...
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Brings nothing new to the genre
kristiankarolakhelbert13 January 2019
An unnecessary reboot of what has already been portrayed before. The movie is focoused on portraying total misery and nothing else however it doesn't even succeed in that. The actors are not very good and the movie is extremely slow, the Russian language that is spoken in the movie is also appalling which brings the feeling of yet another American Russophobic movie. There is a great deal of truth portrayed in the movie yet in the absence of objectivity it corresponds to a Fox News article. Simply put -the director forgot about making a genuine movie and rather tried to create a political statement.
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Strong mowie!
rasa020217 January 2019
Strong movie ... Forcing to feel the horror of those days ...
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Great script, cast and production!
MariaJohnsen12 January 2019
I enjoyed watching it last night. Nordic actors such as Martin Wallström and Peter Franzén did wonderful performances. I almost believed Martin was Ukrainian, he did very well. Bravo! I should also congratulate Marius A. Markevicius for making such a wonderful film on a low budget. The script was well developed and the dialogues were simple. The writer lucratively portrayed an old conflict between Eastern European countries and Russia back in 1942. Production design and locations were also good. Well done! Thank you for making this film for creating awareness.
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For those who don't know...
House-of_cards12 January 2019
.. that Stalin was as much as a monster and evil inhumane madman as Adolf Hitler ! The NKVD were the SS of Soviet Union. The people of Eastern Europe Baltic states and south Eastern Europe had a terrible time equivalent to Western Europe ! And remember today we have a Russian lead by a man with equivalent evil tendencies who has already annexed Crimea !
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The evils of 1940s Soviet regime.
TxMike7 July 2019
My wife and I watched this at home on DVD from our public library. Switching on subtitles during key scenes was nice, some of the mumbling with an accent was hard to understand.

This story is "inspired" by real events which means it is a fictional story representative of what happened back then, the 1940s, when Stalin's USSR was invading Eastern European countries and labeling residents as enemies, gathering them up and sending them to harsh labor camps. This story focuses on Lithuanians.

Bel Powley is the main focus, even though the actress was 25 or 26, she plays 16-yr-old Lina who has a knack for art - drawing, painting, these types of art. She is self-taught but her father hopes to get her admission to a formal art school. Right then, just after she receives her acceptance letter, is when her family and many others are forced into trucks then trains and shipped off to labor camps.

Of course part of the movie is to show how brutal the Soviets were but the main part is to show how people can work to maintain their dignity in such trying times. Interestingly, in the credits are a long list of "extras" who had ties to ancestors who had been imprisoned and mistreated during those times.

Good movie although hard to watch at times.
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