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A tragic love story
The film focuses on the love story between Admiral Kolchak and Anna Timiryova, in the context of the tragic events of the Russian revolution and civil war. And rightly so, the main feature is the love story, while history is left to the background.
It also does not focus on the life of Anna Timiryova after Kolchak's death - she has been arrested six times and spent long years in the Gulag. But she always remembered the two tragic years when she had been able to be with her lover.
The lyrics of the theme song are one of Anna Timiryova's poems. Unfortunately a film cannot focus on poetry, but it should be remembered that the Timiryova's poems have been compared the the poetry of Boris Pasternak.
And Boyarskaya really shows that she understood the tragism of Timiryova's fate.
The Moscow Siege (2004)
Good documentary, inappropriate commentary
The film presents the story of a terrorist attack on a Moscow theater as well as the actions taken to release the hostages. The Russian anti-terrorist forces were able to kill all the terrorists and to release the hostages, though an important number of the hostages also died. Instead of analyzing what actions the Russians could have taken to reduce the number of casualties, part of the commentary tends to justify the cause of the terrorists. The Chechen terrorists are not more justified than the Al-Qaida terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center in New York. Commentaries supporting terrorism are just bad reporting. It is sad that an interesting documentary has such commentaries.
The tragedy of Stalingrad does not finish with the surrender of the German 6th Army
The magnitude of the Stalingrad tragedy is concisely presented in the end note of the movie: "In the battle of Stalingrad, more than one million people were killed in action, froze to death or died of starvation: Russians, Romanians, Italians, Hungarians, Germans, Austrians. Of the 260,000 surrounded men of the Sixth Army, 91,00o were taken prisoners, of whom only 6,000 returned to their homeland, years later.
What the story does not tell was that Fieldmarshall Paulus, who surrendered, did not share all the hardship of the captivity of his men. He had a special treatment as the highest ranking prisonner taken by the Soviet army. When, during his presence at the Nuremberg trials he was asked about the fate of the 91,000 prisoners, he declared that they were fine. He was freed after the war and died in the East Germany.
The film only presents the first part of the tragedy, the actual battle of Stalingrad. However, for an entire picture, the fate of the 91,000 prisonners should also not be forgotten.
The fight of one evil against another evil
The movie is a splendid condemnation of excessive militarism, where-ever it appears, not only in Spain. Limiting its significance to the time and place where the action is located is limiting to the message which is much more general than presenting the philosophy of one of the belligerents in the Spanish Civil War. The tragedy of this civil war is that it was not a fight between good and evil. Both sides were equally brutal and numerous accounts prove that atrocities have been committed by both sides. Having a choice between 40 years of fascist rule or 50 rules of communist rule is not having a choice at all. The participants could not have known, what we know now, that the comparing the rule of the Franco regime in Spain with the communist rule in Eastern Europe, which started less than ten years after the Spanish Civil war, communism was not only more brutal than fascism but also more destructive, as it is more difficult for the Eastern European countries than it was for Spain to recover.
However, in this context, the question arises, assuming colonel Masagual was initially an intelligent and lucid person, if he was not driven to his drug addiction and his destructive "Weltanschauung" just because he was caught in the middle of a war between equally negative forces and having no rational option. It it not proven that the war was due to people like Masagual and it is equally possible that people were driven to madness and despair just because of the war where there was no good alternative to fight for.
First Spanish Film
Though several short documentaries had been filmed in Spain by Alexandre Promio for the French Lumiere Company, "Salida de misa de doce del Pilar de Zaragoza", filmed on October 11, 1896 is considered to be the first Spanish film. It appears to have been filmed from a ladder located in front of the church during the vespers of the festivity of Nuestra Senora del Pilar.
The film has a length of 12.40 meters and contains 651 photograms. A second version was filmed also by Eduardo Jimeno Peromarta on October 18, 1896.
Both films have been restored in 1994 by Filmoteca de Zaragoza. The second film, which originally had no title, was named "Saludos" with this opportunity.
Un été inoubliable (1994)
Socialism realism in the 1990s!
The movie depicts the atrocities committed against Bulgarian peasants by the Romanian authorities after reconquering Southern Dobrogea at the end of World War I. Petre Dimitriu, a young army captain heads the local garrison and attempts in vain to prevent the killings. It is difficult to understand why Lucian Pintilie chose an obscure short-story, published in the early 1950s as subject for his film. The author, Petre Dimitriu, was at that time a young writer aspiring for recognition by the communist regime. The autobiographical story tries at the same time to vilify the former regime and to prove that the authors father had dissociated himself from that regime. The story was intended to reinforce the author's credentials and to help him become an aclaimed communist writer before his defection to the West. Lucian Pintilie's direction was not able to annihilate the political background of the story. Therefore, despite its qualities, the film rings like an anachronic revival of the socialist realism of the 1950s.
Csillagosok, katonák (1967)
An atrocious film
An atrocious propaganda film, totally unconvincing, which doesn't seem able to convince about anything except that its authors have been completely brainwashed. The characters are formally sketched and the structure rings only false notes. An example of Socialist Realism at its worse.
It is incredible that in 1967 the Hungarians were able to still make such films.