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A higher Caliber Warfilm about World War 2, than an average viewer might expect.
21 January 2012
So far, this movie is only available in Russian Language. I believe this movie will come out as successful as FORTRESS OF WAR, THE BOMBER, ADMIRAL, and a few more titles, that have been released with English subtitles. I watched the ones above all in their earlier Russian language version, because I couldn't wait. So did I view this one. The new Russian movies about world war 2 are way more forward with the facts, than the old soviet ones are. NKVD troops (acting on Stalins direct edicts) are brutal and merciless. They don't seem to care, if their subjects are guilty of the crime or not : desertion, collaborating with the enemy, or disobeying soviet orders. Facts of disproof seem to be a mere nuisance to them. A high ranking soviet Brigade General ( our protagonist)just went through such NKVD treatment with a new set of golden teeth, the old ones have been beaten out of him. His expertise is desperately needed in building a new defenseline to slow down the German advance towards Moscow in the month of July. The year is 1941, and the Wehrmacht seems to be unstoppable. Our protagonist acts quickly, organizing a new defensive line on the Dneiper River, with the city of Smolonsk in his back.Something really hard to do, because 100 000's of Refugee's are clogging the roads. The troops at his disposal are some 45mm anti tank units, demoralized but rallied troops, a batch of conscript with very little experience a understrenght regiment of regular red army equipped with anti tank rifles, and a Recon unit equipped with BA-65 armored cars. Also an armored train for artillery support, very few anti aircraft guns and no air support. There is a little fortress on the main highway, buying him some time. The Germans don't loose much time to through everything nasty, at his little army: Squadrons of Stuka's and Me-109's, Dozens of Mark II and III tanks, heavy 150 mm artillery and armored SdKfz armored personal carriers. No substitute equipment at play here, like we are used from older warflicks. Yes, the ruski film makers use a lot of CGI and other clever special effects but the battles look pretty authentic to an old war movie buff like me. Also the acting is great, the actors are believable doing their period characters. I don't know, how a war movie currently could be made any better. This one scores with me in the same league as "The Pacific" "Band of Brothers" and "Saving Private Ryan ".
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Czas honoru (2008– )
An Epic WW2 masterpiece
19 November 2011
I own season 1, 2 and 3, all have English subtitles. Very easy on the eyes, and in big letters. The Story (based on the historical events) A group of Polish soldiers manages to escape German occupied Poland, after the capitulation of their army in September 1939. They are being trained in Britain as commando strike force specialists. After many month of training, they are being parachuted back to Poland to build resistance and sabotage cells. The movie does not only tell their story, but also that of their friends associates and families. Doing resistance work in Poland is extremely dangerous. The SS and Gestapo acts mercilessly and ruthlessly to any of their attempts of defiance. This miniseries is in no way a propaganda product, but a closely authentic portrait of a dreadful period. The German side is portrait fairly, they are not demonised nor dehumanized, but portrait as victims of their time. Off course there is now way to excuse the brutality and the atrocities, that some of them committed. The three whole seasons allow for some very interesting character developments,that don't fall into a formulas, some turns and twists are refreshingly unanticipated. The story has a nail biting suspenseful flow. If you have planned to watch one episode per evening, you will catch yourself watching 3 or 4. If you want to compare this miniseries to American or British productions, this miniseries scores on exceptional good acting, scriptwriting and historical authenticity. It does lack the huge budget and special effects of BAND OF BROTHERS, but does not have to hide behind the British series like FOYLES WAR, A PIECE OF CAKE, WINGS OF WAR and ISLAND OF WAR, just to name a few. For Polish TV, the computer CGI effects are quite awesome and inventive. There is some excellent work being done, by blending original black and white scenes in remade color scenes, with our main protagonists acting in it. I hope the seasons will continue, and go right up to the end of the war. I'm currently watching the end of season 2, and the German Wehrmacht has just started to invade the Sovietunion. I also noted that this Polish production is still using Stars from the time of the cold war, together with the younger generation. It works great ! As a German Canadian viewer, I noted that the polish actors portraying the Germans, doing an excellent job. You can take note of Austrian, Bavarian, Saxon and lower German accents, and follies. There are many films made about the Warsaw Ghetto, this movie goes into great detail to describe the tragedy. I would go so far and say, like no other. The viewer will also experience an ambiance of fear and desperation, as they will identifying themselves with the protagonists. At this stage, the Germans are still winning on all fronts, the German defeat at the gates of Moscow and Stalingrad has not happened yet..... Yet a believe in humanity and a final victory, keeps our protagonists not to despair.
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A timeless classic of bold Authenticity
16 November 2009
This movie is a timeless masterpiece, and one of Germany's top 10 rated films. It will draw the viewer with surprising frankness , and bold actions of 2 young men of an unlikely friendship, coming of age in the 1940's Germany. Drafted from Highschool to the German Military, both of them going through a character Transition: Werner, a more sensible person, turns more and more into a sceptic by witnessing how his ideals getting destroyed by the application of a ruthless fascist system where he has to be part of it. Gilbert, also intelligent, a man of action and a Go Getter develops a passion for everything Military, that eventually will challenge his friendship to Werner. The viewer will experience both of them as likable characters at first, and will go with them through a transition .Eventually feel the painful decision process they are forced to undergo. The gap between them widen and resolves a final movie climax. Being a complex psychological Drama, the film does not lack action or battle scenes, which were masterfully staged and ahead of their times. Using newly invented filmographic artwork, a realistic ambiance leaves the viewer in awe, even today with it's special effects and CGI technologies. Many elderly Germans who I had the pleasure sharing this movie with, attested it as being an authentic capture of the period. Made in 1965, the memory of the 40's where fresh and painful, the production used people with first hand experiences, to left no detail missing. For most movie directors using flashbacks of a flashback are usually a No No to use in blockbuster films. Surprisingly it works very well in this film. It does, because it helps the viewer to understand their character transitions from High School to the dramatic combat scenes. Both of them are not the typical blind Nazi followers, nor fanatics, nevertheless prisoners of their times. Sometimes even swimming against the popular tide of fascism, by beating up their schools Hitler Youth leader, for being a cruel prick.

If they would have been born 20 years later, they would have blended right into our social fabric, as perhaps intellectuals (Werner) or aggressive businessman (Gilbert).

Some viewers criticized this film for not using authentic WW2 rifles, pointing towards the AK-47, allegedly used in this film by German soldiers. When in fact they where "Sturmgewehr 44s", with whom not many people are familiar with. This Gun was issued by few German units in 1945, and described as one of Hitlers so called Wonder weapons to change the outcome of the war.

The Actors and the Acting As a German raised Canadian, I love those Actors, because I grew up seeing them on German TV for half of my lifetime, and recently again, because the internet and online shopping makes it possible to reunite with them. Most of them can still be seen on new German TV productions today. For me, they where simply the best. Does a wage of x-million $ per film, make a Hollywood actor better, than an actor from another country who does quality work with a moderate wage ? I guess only American movie fans can answer that. For me, they just created one of my most favourite films. My Dad , a veteran of age 84 and I, are in accord on this opinion, as for my part I have listened a lot but not enough of my past 55 years to him, specially interested in the wartime. At first very reluctant to tell me much, my insistence paid of over the years. He grew up like a normal child from a middle class farming family, enjoying the seasons, Fishing, hunting and swimming in the ancient Hessel river. Joined the Hitler Youth, because almost every young boy did. That meant privilege's like participating in motor sport and glider plane classes. Our farming community lived in a quite and tranquil place of Germany, with not much going on. There was plenty of food on the farm, many family gatherings and celebrations, it seemed like time would not touch this little peaceful and enchanting world. That idyll all ended in the second year of the war, just like it did in the movie. If my Dad says the movie got it accurately, than I do believe him
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Brother's War (2009)
How not to make War Movies
26 June 2009
If you are an American movie producer, director or scriptwriter, and you want to put a believable war story on film, you should observe a few ground rules: 1.) Find a reputable war story, that interest's and intrigues you.

Do not make a story up, or select events and clump them together,

if they are too remotely related.

2.) Have a few Veterans or Survivors consulted and included in the

extras of the DVD, from all sides. Hurry up, they will not be

around forever.

3.) Read the History part, try to be as authentic as possible.

4.) Read about soldiers from the other side, try to get their characters

and culture right.

The Russians in this film look like morons and goons, the director

should have watched some Russian war flicks like 'ZVESDA', 'SVOY'

or 'KONVOY PQ-17', to get the feeling.

5.) Have military advisers around, to make sense out of the action

scenes. At least this movie had some original vehicles like the

Hetzer. But they seemed to be lost on the Battlefield.

6.) Get actors, that act like soldiers act in wars.

Do not make the mistake of assigning pretty actors to one side,

and the most ugly ones to the other.

Do not dehumanize any side. Criticize them by their deeds, do not

paint them as subhumans.

7.) Do not make a war movie, that subjects to your ideology.

This one felt like a typical propaganda movie.

A very naive and born out of prejudiced klishe'.

8.) A good musical score, this was the only part in the movie, that was

done good.
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Brilliant Historytelling for a TV production.
1 June 2009
The angle of telling the historical story from the fighting man's perspective, was suspensefully implemented. I witnessed the view of the invading Vikings, shared their long journey via the North Atlantic , the excitement of pillaging the anglo -saxon villages, and their thirst for a adventures battles. The main focus however was on the anglo - saxon peasants, who had to leave their homesteads and their loved ones behind, to fight the invaders. Expecting an attack from William the Conquerer from Normandy they had to guard the Sussex Coast. When News arrived, that a mighty Viking force was attacking the Midlands, 200 miles north. Imagine untrained farmers turned soldiers with few professional soldiers (the Kings Guard)commanding them, it was quite an archivement to cover that distance in 4 days, with only dirt path's in that direction. The old roman cobblestone streets run mostly east - west. The hardship of it, is illustrated in great detail, specially when you have watched the extras of the DVD, before you have watched the movie series. This is what I recommend to all viewers. After having seen the extra features, you will appreciate the movie more. Footwear, food, clothing and weaponry really round up the " you have been there " feeling. No Superheroes, or corny over-dramatized characters, just real people trying to survive. The battles however are graphic, nothing for the fainthearted. With fear, panic, cut of limbs, the movie is also not without humor. I remember the Stamford Bridge Battle scene, where eager soldiers from the rear ranks and file pushing the frontline without caution, where an "ole battle hand" in front kept swearing at them, going into certain slaughter. I haven't seen anything like that, so authentic in a period peace battle. King Herold,King Harald and William the Conquerer, take a backstage in this film, it's all about the common fighting man. A very interesting approach, that worked very well in this movie. A refreshing detour from the "300" type of making history movies. The movie is 4 hours short, more than 2 hours are of it spend for the 3 great battles: Midland, Stamford Bridge and Hastings. Yes, the anglo - saxons had to march all the 200 miles back to meet another enemy at Hastings, telling more would spoil the movie. I feel fortunate to own a region free DVD player, otherwise I couldn't see all the great historical movies from europe. There is nothing like this movie here in north America.
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Chtoby vyzhit (1992)
On a tide of Movies from the Gorbatschov period
19 April 2008
This Movie was released in the West: Under the title RED MOB. And dubbed in English language. Here is the Synopsys: The long tentacles of an unholy alliance between the KGB and the Russian Mafia reach a camp where Oleg, an elite officer and Afghan War veteran is holidaying with his son. But when Oleg's friend refuses to lead a drug and gun smuggler's caravan through a desert impasse, Oleg's son is taken hostage. In order to rescue him, Oleg agrees to lead the caravan. Pretending to go along with the mob, he leads them directly into a trap where he and his son must fight their way through a desert inferno of explosions and mayhem if they are to escape. ... Very Good action scenes and FX. for the 90's vintage movie ...
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A female Snipers story of WW2, fact based ?
22 March 2008
The story starts in the year of 1942, a year where the war in Russia was still hanging In the balance. The fascist German invaders where still ruthlessly and quickly advancing deeper into the Russian heartland. Contesting them in their strongholds, always close to a suicide mission. Female Snipers in Russia where known for their nerves of steel and endurance under the most adverse conditions. They had to get in close shooting distance to the enemy positions, which was extremely dangerous, and required iron discipline, mixed with stamina. Once close enough, and remaining undetected, every shot had to count. Once they where detected by their German adversaries, their chance to survive and escape was very slim. This film lets you feel the fear, the rage and whole emotional range a woman has to face in ultimate combat situations. The Trauma after battle is hard to deal with, and to overcome. Specially when your fellow female soldier has fallen, and you blame yourself for letting it happen. The portrait of the brutality in this movie does not spare the viewer the graphic details. Snipers where among the most hated enemies, once soldiers had to fight in fixed positions. They where killed with utter content. German soldiers who where able to catch a sniper, crucified them in front of their position, for their enemies to see. Sort of psychological warfare. This movie really portraits war in it's rawest and most contemptible format, making an excellent anti war statement. This movie also goes beyond the trenches, and let's the viewer participate in the aftermath of battle, dealing with the Trauma, and let us also feel the pressure of duty, when Your country faces annihilation. There is not much glory, and heroic emphasis as we are used to see in Hollywood movies, here we experience people who went through a war where they faced the destruction of their Motherland and their Culture, and had to prevail. They had no choice.
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Sort of a Russian "Flashdance" , but better !
22 February 2008
The intense competition and discipline associated with the development of a Prima Ballerina in a top St.Petersburg Ballet School serves as the background and focus of this well acted romantic drama. The Beauty of the Dancers and their dancing contrasts with the rigors of the training regime. Some of the Dancers remain secondary if the Dancer wants to archive her maximum potential. The acting of the unknown actors and actresses to me, a Canadian viewer and fan of Russian cinema, left me in awe. It was probably the times, that Russian cinema has hitting rocket bottom, and nobody paid any attention to Russian cinema. So this so underrated Juwel of a Masterpeace movie went absolutely un-noticed. I'm one of the very few lucky people who came into possession of this movie, via a very special Russian Girlfriend of mine. Who was able to get me a VHS version with English subtitles. It's one of my most precious possessions now.
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Act according to the Situation
8 February 2008
An entertaining Russian WW2 movie, made in the 80's perestroika years. The soviet army has crossed the Oder River at the Seelow heights and is now driving full speed towards the fascist capital of Berlin. So fast, that our Tank Battallion in the movie has run out of fuel in a small German village. They liberate an allied airmen (american), who is more than willing to help the Russians to fight a ruthless SS unit defending this area. Who in return send an attractive female spy to pretend being a collaborator of the allies. There are some pretty good action scenes, like tank battles for the history fan to enjoy. The Tank's look vintage T34-85, SU85 and ISU, on the Russian side, some Panther MarkVI and a Hummel on the German side. You witness the will of ordinary town folk to surrender, some fanatic brown-shirts to fight on.
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Beware of the Neocon in a sheepskin
5 February 2008
I'm not inundating MW is a cross dresser, if I would use his marginalization of the finer nuances. "Casus belly" There is a huge difference by saying "I hate America" or "I hate how America is acting under George Bush" If I would have been MW's English teacher catching him misusing this phrase, he would not have passed the dictionary lesson. Selling himself as the naive "little farm boy" from Minesota doing a Mocumentary on MM, exploiting his weaknesses and elevating MM to a Media Goliath, doesn't make MW a David. He might convince the blissfully ignorant and uneducated , but an increasing silent majority know's who the real Media Goliath is: The Media run by Corporations, reflecting the advertisers opinion. Now this Media could have done a Rebuttle Documentary on MM's Mocumentaries, but they know it wouldn't look sexy, if they would use sleek corporate Media Spinmasters to run it. So they might have sponsored MM, threw in a cheap Comedian team : Pen & Teller (Rush Limbough was probably too expansive)and some other cheerleaders to make it run. Also trying to move MM into a leftist corner, calling him a communist sympathizer, makes me believe MW doesn't know real Communist Agitators like John Hartfield, Eduard Schnitzler, Ernst Bush, Hans Eisler and Wladimir Mayakowski. Clearly, the Neoncon Movement wants to destroy Middle-class America. All they want is slave labor for their shopping temples like Wallmart, and Massfeeding institutions like MacDonalds. Small Business people are just a nuisance for them. Obviously they are succeeding, by using the Media to sell us lies, lies like "Michael Moore hates America" Joseph Goebbles the Propaganda Minister of Germany during the Third Reich quoted: If you tell a Lie, and say it is the truth....Repeat it often enough and it becomes the truth. May be the American people are bound to believe now one of MW's quotes: Canada's Crime rate is twice as high, as the US's. I would like to know his source of statistics, lol. Given the fact that our Canadian population is 10% of the US population, I'm left in disbelieve, that my chance's are twice as high to become a victim of a mugging, shooting, robbery, fraud or whatever in a City let's say Toronto, after I had to fend for my life in Atlanta, where I got lost in city traffic: I had to evade carbage on the streets and duck behind my Cabriolet Steering wheel evading an angry mob throwing objects. Buffula looked pretty grim to me, after I traveled through there. Burned out buildings after an alleged Gangwar. I just don't buy MM's statistics. Left alone now the white collar crime, that ripped of Middle Class Stock Investors, where the corporations loaned money to Deadbeats to make statistics look better and to raise their profits. They also knew when to hit the breaks, and take their money out in time first: Insider Information. Does Enron rung a bell here ? Hey Mike Wilson : "Where is my Money?" Yes, I lost money after the Morgage and Loan scandal too. Oh, I also like to take MW's challenge on playing Hockey in the vicinity of the Capitol ! He said: "That's only possible in the US " I bet a travel ticket , that You and I can play Hockey at the Parliament in Ottawa, at the Elysee in Paris, at Reichstag in Berlin at the Duma in Warzaw and on the Kremlin's Red square. I don't know about Bejing, haven't been there yet. Travelling wouldn't hurt, may be it would supply you with a better education, Buddy !
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Russia's Liberation of Manchuria from the Japanese in 1945
3 February 2008
History is my hobby, and I collect movies and books, that cover unknown battles unknown in the west. If I can not get a movie with English, German, french or Spanish subtitles, I watch them without subtitles. This movie is not hard to follow, if you are interested in WW2 and have the basic knowledge. Action packed in the second half of the movie,after the Russian Guards Tank-Army has crossed the Gobi Desert, they hit a Japanese defense line (Like the french Maginot line) in the Mountains. A fearce battle ensue's when the Russian soldiers, after taking heavy casualties, break into the intricate, concrete defense system. For the 80'3 standards, the action and special effect scenes are well made. As far as i can tell, the weaponry, both sides use is authentic.The acting as good as in western movies. There is no exaggerated drama.
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For everyone who's ever harbored a secret sexual wish.
1 December 2007
Wealthy Mr.H seems to have lost everything: His health, his youth, his wife and even control over his own fortune. But he has kept something far more important : His desire for beautiful women. And that life-affirming passion, fueled by the tempting nearness of his sultry daughter -in-law, lets him escape from his sickbed into the rich world of submissive fantasies and remembrance. Beatie Edney plays quite an enchanting, but very natural Dominatrix. Look inside the "DIARY OF A MAD OLD MAN" and you'll find humor and tragedy, wisdom and sensuality . Unformulated, the movie delivers surprise by surprise at a very slow pace, as to make the viewer feel "his age". Coming closer to our hero's age, I didn't mind this pace at all, I found some rather delicious and inspiring moments in it.
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Soldaty svobody (1977– )
This is an Eastern Bloc Propanganda movie, but ....
26 November 2007
A way to enjoy this movie, is like going to a museum which contains a lot of over-sized paintings, depicting battle-scenes from WW2. If you enjoy those kind of paintings, you must be most likely a history buff or art student. This movie is not for people who enjoy the classically formulated drama, action or adventure story, or being terribly offended by soviet propaganda. Watch it with a grain of salt. This is rather an art form movie not unlike Leni Riefenstahls "Triumph of the Will". You see the actors of post war Communist Leaders of Europe in glorified historical situations. No expanse was spared when it came to recreate key battle scenes from the east European theater of war.Those scenes are still amazing, even in the dawn of computer-animation, because here 10'000's of soviet army soldiers where used as extras. Tank's, Airplanes and other weapons are clearly vintage equipment, even better than in "The Liberation" (Osvobodsheniye). My favorite scene: A beautiful female Russian Soldier Girl being accompanied by an army orchestra, in front of a few thousand soldiers, sings the song of "The Beautiful Darkhaired Moldavian Girl" Very moving and wonderful performance.
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Belyy vzryv (1970)
An action packed War Suspense.
25 November 2007
1942, the German wehrmacht is trying to capture the Baku oilfields at the black sea. Their biggest obstacle are the Kaukasian Mountains and few Russians soldiers to stop them. The story revolves around an important Mountain Pass, that is heavily contested by both sides. The director uses the black & white photography to it's fullest potential. It looks spectacular. There are some special effects, but mostly a lot of dangerous stunt man/woman work. Hand to Hand combat over sheer cliffs, reckless disregard for dangerous calculations,to take advantages, are common. Also was I impressed about the superb acting. One of the very best war movies that I've seen. And that without much knowledge about the Russian language. The VHS version I watched, had no English subtitles.
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The War Boy (1985)
European Mystique, without the Hollywwod Sugarcoat.
24 November 2007
If you like unformulated movies, where the "good ending" is in question, where realities remain complex, you will love this movie. Hungary in the fall of 1944. The Soviet Army has just reached Hungary. The Hungarian Fascist Party and the German army tighten the grip, on what is left of fascist territory. Little Jan's parents have been accused of defeatism and being arrested. Like the making of a fine sword, Jan's character is tempered by these events.Hidden reserves of physical and moral strenght draw from the very core of his being. The War Boy is action, suspense and tender human drama combined in a true portrayal of courage during a period of tremendous strife. I can only explain the "bad ratings" from other viewers,who were expecting the usual diet of an American type of family drama. That must be due to the way this movie was marketed. And probably viewed by people who usually do not watch movies that contain too much historical weight.
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The Last Armored Train
16 November 2007
World War 2, in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa, the Third Reich commandeered a special force called "Brandenburger". An Elite formation of Paratroopers, not unlike todays Navy Seals, Green Barets, Spetznatz etc. The mission of this particular Paratrooper unit is to size river bridges behind the soviet lines, before the retreating Soviet Army can destroy them. However, a Russian armored Train in their sector remains to keep a thorn in their side. Where the whole Russian front line seems to collapse in the eve of the fascist juggernaut, this Armored Train must be eliminated at all costs. I really enjoyed the computer enhanced graphics in the first quarter of the movie, seeing German Gliderplanes coming down on the unsuspecting Russian defenders. Also special Branderburger teams dressed in Russian uniforms trying to terminate any Russian communication Officers. Usually this ploy keeps being successful a number of times in the row. Until they are being met be a few individual Russian Soldiers from very different backgrounds, consolidating in resistance around the Armored Train. The action scenes are breathtakingly amazing, the weaponry chosen by historical refined experts. It works all very well together. Never seen 44 mm Anti Tank Guns (A typical standart AT weapon at this period) in action before. Really didn't know how they operated and worked in action. The action scenes with the AT guns are very good. The only drawback in this movie was the Hollywood predicability ,starting in the last third of this film. Russian movie makers are falling here in the same trap as most Hollywood films, using Formula's. The end felt very formulated indeed.
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Better than "Enemy at the Gates"
10 November 2007
I believe this movie is based on a true story. The year is 1944, Operation Bagration just about to start. Bagration is the Offensive that smashed German army group center. It's about a Duel of a young female Russian sniper named Olga, against an older distinguished German sniper Ace, with a record of 269 kills. Olga, now 19 years old, has only a credit of 16 kills, but won the Russian junior sharpshooting contest in 1940. Now Olga has been ordered to eliminate this thread. Olga uses very unorthodox and witty method's to outfox the German "Specialist". So far the German sniper seems to keep a step ahead of Olga, relying on his cunning instincts and experience. Both persons are of "unusual character trades, as viewers will find out with astonishment. But unlike in "Enemy at the Gates" this movie is not just about a Sniper Duel, it has several other stories and destinies woven in. There is this hyper "Jolly Good Fellow" young conscript, who falls deeply in love with Olga. Olga is and can not be distracted, and rejects his sometimes charming, but clumsy advances. There is also the fight of wills between a 52 year old veteran, a distinguished soldier, who hasn't risen in the ranks, against a young Russian Commissar, who works without compassion, to execute Stalin's orders. To top it all, there is a German Commando unit behind the Russian lines, dressed in Russian uniforms to create havoc. The battle scenes are made in the realistic style of "Saving Private Ryan", The characters are painted in gray, no formulated good guys vs the bad guys scheme, the war is portrayed as sheer terror mixed with human intrigues, misunderstandings and confusion. So you get the "been with them" feeling of a believable story. Gritty Realism is not left out, but not over-emphasized in this made for TV production. I watched the CP Digital version with English subtitles. This movie beats most over tuned Hollywood productions, it relays more on real military coaches, than on formulated effects.
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A Nam movie, a movie from "the other side"
27 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Very different angle, very interesting for history fans. And after more than 35 years, emotions should be more sober. Try to watch it with an open mind, the world is not black & white. A true Cold War product, it is of course promoting communism, and probably hard to swallow for the conservative Minded. You will see the Vietcong and the NVA as the good guys, and the Americans as the bad guys. Nevertheless a well crafted and convincing Fim, if you watch it from an artistic point of view. A caravan of Vietnamese Guerillas is moving along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Among them is an American Actress and Singer, Kate Francis, who came to Vietnam in order, on her return home, to tell the truth about the war. I Haiphong, Kate's Vietnamese friend , May, introduces the actress to her husband , sapper Fong, who just came back from the Sovietunion on the Merchand ship "Chelyabinsk". Only by some miracle the friends manage to foil an explosion at the Haiphong port that was prepared by the American secret service.
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Eshelon (2005– )
From WW2 Berlin to Manchuria
12 October 2007
Join a young but seasoned Russian Officer and his Platoon from the last street-battles of Berlin to the long journey to the far east, to face a new battlefront. Made for Russian TV, it doesn't lack from a shoestring budged, the actors are well picked, the stories of some individual soldiers from all walks of life, are convincing. The love story between the officer and a young German girl offer some surprising chemistry. Using the "Gray Shadow" to tell the long long train - ride of about 6000 miles, it will surprise the viewer of what can happen along the way. It's all there, tragedy, revenge, love, impersonations and improvisations under oft most dramatic circumstances. For Viewers who like historical battle scenarios, the first hour of the movie will cater to them, the remainder of the movie is a mixture of drama, comedy, adventure and tragedy. It captures the period and mindset, it creates the mood of ambiance as you would have been there, Veterans will love it.
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Kletka (2003– )
A Treasure of an Epic Story almost unknown in the West
31 August 2007
I love the new Russian Cinema and their television productions. So much in fact, that I started, just started to learn the Russian language. Those productions are of the highest quality in almost every respect. Like in acting, historical detail, studio - sets, special effects (no need to hide behind Hollywood anymore), and the quality of unformulated story - telling. I got so hooked on new Russian movies, that I look up weekly on "What's New" on,, and so on. So I stumbled over this truly remarkable miniseries, marketed as "AL'KA" (Surroundet), on I doesn't matter much if you do not in possession of the Russian language, the acting and the action speak for themselves: Russia June 1941, somewhere in a big city, could be Moscow or Leningrad (St Petersburg), two young Ballerinas aspiring for fame on Stage. The film starts with some beautiful sceneries in an old historic royal building for Ballet - Students. Accompanied by some enchanting classical tones like in most Russian movies. Art is here much more valued as in the overly commercialized west. We are introduced into the characters of friends and family of the main character Nastya (played by the hauntingly petite and beautiful Irina Apeksimova). An environment with a love to live and create. This idyll is shattered by Hitlers invasion of Russia , on June the 22nd of 1942. Nastya is so very moved by the events, that She wants to do something about it. She joins the army together with Her fellow Ballerina Yelena. Both starting as army - field nurses, until Yelena gets killed at their first mission. This fills Nastya with rage, that she decides to join the fighting troops. The men are not thrilled about her idea, but she soon proves herself in battle. Everyone underestimates her capabilities, because of her petite and fragile appearance. But this appearance is deceiving. Nastja possesses nerves of steel, extreme fast reactions. Moving like a tigress with deadly precision. Precission that she has mastered in Ballet. A very deadly Amazon Warrioress. No, this movie is not based on fiction, I have learned this character existed as a Heroin of the Soviet Union. Fraglie petite and also delicate it does not take her long to earn the friendship and the concern of her fellow soldiers and superiors, often with some hilarious results. Comrades noted the poorly issued boots for Nastya and decided to swap them with the boots of Major Lyuba, a female surgeon serving with the elite scout unit, Nastja has become a member of. Using some "monkey business" , they accomplish that. Tragig moments are not dominating this picture, it is not without some comic relief, that only true live stories can pull off. There are attempts of pulling Nastya out of the front lines, because nobody wants her to perish, but Nastya resists. She got so good at capturing German soldiers and sometimes high ranking officers, that she is often desperately needed. Remarkable a scene of a mission, that ends with the tragic death of one of her fellow soldier, who got killed in this action, because an overeager superior officer could not contain himself to the original battle-plan. In her rage, she struck him down with her tiny fist, after the battle. The officers Macho Ego is hurt, and a tribunal is set in motion. But eventually suspended, when Nastya is desperately needed again. Nastya unlike this officers does not believe in inflated Egos. Sometimes the soldiers need to forget the war and go on flings when the situation allows. Like a good comrade, Nastja joins in. When caught like entering a female staff compound for some sex and liqueur, she outs herself with the men or boys. You will follow Nastja from the early periods of the war, right into the street-battles of Berlin. All shown in 5 very short hours. A journey western viewers should not miss. Sometimes after the action scenes the movie will arrest you in it's humanity, something you hardly see in Hollywood movies. There are moments of tears and tragic recognitions, followed by immense joy, and the joy of having survived it all. Shared with the Survivors. I hope to sway the Russian company who produced this true masterpiece, to release a version with English subtitles. I believe it to be highly profitable.
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Tsiniki (1991)
Making Arrangements to keep going, with great on stage like acting.
16 July 2007
This excellent and underrated movie shows us how people tried to survive in the time of Revolution and War .I spite of the Banners that read "The Kingdom of Workers And Peasants shall be eternal" The underlying cynicism with respect to government and authority is widespread ... Like in "Master and Margarita", the Devil hates stupidity. His harvest was one of the richest at this period and time in a country called "Bolshavia" (Bolshevik a word for Russian Communism). I got this movie from a Russian friend, totally unaware about it, but pleasantly surprised about the quality of acting and content. Ordinary Canadians might find it odd that a movie like this could get stranded in a Canadian videostore. The Canadian awareness of Russian movies is next to zero, except for titles that have been digested by the media. It's a real shame that movies like "Cynics" will not get a larger western audience.
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Jennerwein (2003 TV Movie)
From Poacher to Folk-Hero.
15 June 2007
This is the true story of Girgl Jennerwein, a rebel in the German alps from 1848 - 1877. Supplied with a deeper sense of justice, he confront's the harsh suppression of the mountain farmer being used as slave laborers for the gentry. Poor people are sometimes left close to starvation, Girgl's poached meat helps them to cope. This does not get un-noticed by the Authorities, who set an experienced wild-ranger on his trail. A Ranger that has killed Girgl's father for the reason of poaching. Girgl, a former soldier of the imperial German army will prove more than a challenge. It is a beautiful Woman however that will drive a wedge between Girgl and his supporters. The acting is superb, the photography just beautiful, the story has some of the grittiness of Clint Eastwood's "UNFORGIVEN". Not made after any Hollywood formula, the viewer is left with a taste of historical realism.
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Julie, chevalier de Maupin (2004 TV Movie)
As enchanting as her mother Romy Schneider plus a go getter Lady
15 June 2007
Settled in the 17th century this suspenseful miniseries tells the story of the assertive Comtessa Julie. She is searching for a dark secret of her past. A time when Europe was riddled with suspicion, an elitist cult worshiped Black Sabbath, where Julie as an infant was destined to be sacrificed. Someone had a chance of mind and saved her from this dreadful fate. Now after 20 years, She still has to unravel the Mystery. After the murder of her father, does she decide to search for her mother. After She believed to have found her in Agnes'Dormes, her mother claims to have saved her from sacrificial death. Julie wants to go to the bottom of the truth, but her to be believed mother also falls victim to murder. On Julie's return to Paris, a warrant for her arrest has been issued, and Julie faces the possibility to be burned on the stake. The holy inquisitions interest has been aroused.
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Grenze (2004)
An East-German Peoples Army class reunion.
11 June 2007
Grenze, in English BORDER,is the first movie documentary about East German border-guards, portraying their thoughts today and yesterday. Those people where told, that they where there to prevent world war three between their Warsaw Pact and the enemy NATO Alliance. Few believed in that view, they noticed very quickly, that they where jailers of their own people. This is the story of 4 Men (Director Holger Jancke was the fifth in the troop), who served 17 years ago at their prime youth at this "Frontline". Now at the reunion at 2004 they are swapping the fotographies they illegally took for the first time. They took those pictures despite the espionage threat, that could have landed them at Military-Prison. Out of pure coincidence, the border-region they had to guard is one of the only few places left to be kept as memorials. Now the viewer is invited to participate in their soul searches....
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Chelovek voyny (2005– )
An action packed and moving epic.
10 June 2007
My command of the Russian language is very poor, anyway I had little problems following this nail-biting and suspenseful story. I purchased the DVD, because a Russian friend of mine recommended it to me, after we talked about the movie "Come And See". This movie is very close to "Come And See" and also very close to "Franz And Polina". I believe the Russians have a lot of unresolved issues with this period of history: The resistance movement in Bjelorussia during WW2. This miniseries is a very good attempt to address the complexities of collaboration, betrayal, terror and counter-terror, sacrifice and opportunism. The acting is absolutely superb, no cliché's of evil German SS-Officers, this miniseries really tries to explain the reasoning that might have been behind those men. Let's not forget, there was a fuhrer's order to view upon the Russian population as inferior subhuman. For the more subtle ways of today, to dehumanize an enemy, this was the very crude style. But it worked, because people did not have "the check and balances" of the media of today. I was very impressed with the actress Agnes Zeltinya playing the NKVD agent Lida Eisenschmidt. Using a lot of female intuition, seduction and iron nerves to execute her mission. I really liked to have the space of over 400 minutes to see the characters develop, there was not one boring minute in this movie. Uniforms, weapons the period and the politics where well depicted and researched in detail. Something that you rarely see in Hollywood movies, where most current action movies are drowning in special effects and simplified story lines. The new Russian film is going a different direction, taking pride in the art of acting and the old fashion way of story telling. I have to admit, I'm addicted to the new Russian cinema. Now my criticism: I'm wondering why Russian movies are so purely marketed in the west, since the quality of those movies are really outstanding. Almost every new Russian movie-epic comes without English subtitles, so I get so tired of waiting, that I have to watch them without them. It seems that it might take forever, for the Russian studios to release English versions of "Doctor Zhivago (2006)", "Quiet flows the Don (2006)" , "Svoi (2004)", "Gibel Imperij (2005)", "Yonkera(2007)", "The Nine Lives Of Nestor Machnow (2006)" and many, many more.
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