Nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, They Fought For Their Motherland is set in July 1942, as the exhausted Soviet troops begins its retreat toward Stalingrad while desperately attempting to hold their ground against the rampaging German war machine. The film concentrates on the remnants of one shattered Soviet regiment and its individual soldiers' thoughts and fears in the face of impending annihilation, not only of themselves but of Mother Russia too. The film's powerful depictions of war and destruction effectively bring home the inhumanity and waste wrought by evil endeavours and provide a moving insight into the personal predicaments of the individual characters forced to participate in a frantic fight for survival.
Interview with actress Irina Skobtseva
Interview with professor A. Ushakov
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Vivid imagery from Sergei Bondarchuk
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 15/01/2008 13:31:00
It`s highly refreshing watching foreign war films and this Russian release is a welcome dvd release.We join a small group of soldiers retreating to Stalingrad ,trying to keep the Germans at bay besides facing the wrath of the local population.Excellent early scene where an old lady berates a soldier scrounging a cooking pot.No sooner has he prepared his feast then the Germans attack and the action scenes, although not particularly graphic, are often epic in scale with tanks,planes and hundreds of extras on screen at any one time.Vivid imagery as a young medic tries to drag a wounded man across a pitted landscape,burning wheatfields as the Russians retreat and a young boy waving to the departing soldiers.Excellent stuff but then for the last half-hour the film does seem to lose it`s way as the early scrounger tries to "have his way" with a rather robust Russian peasant.However the film is still a worthwhile experience and contains much more of an upbeat message rather than the depressing but thoroughly engrossing "Come & See."
The dvd is presented 4/3 1.33:1 but it`s not overly apparent ,especially during the battle scenes,that any footage is missing so perhaps this is the correct ratio.Other Russian films of the period I`ve seen have been released with the same ratio such as "Come & See"(1985).The picture does appear to have been remastered to some degree but one annoying aspect,deliberate or not,is the presence of dirt on the camera lens during the action scenes which is extremely distracting.Audio is dubbed or subtitled Russian but the surround sound 5.1 is just superb-easily one of the best mixes I`ve heard from what was probably an original mono track.
It`s great that these films are being released to a Western audience but in the meantime try:"The Cranes Are Flying","Ballad Of a Soldier","Ivan`s Childhood","9 Rota" about the Russian involvement in Afghanistan and directed by Bondarchuk`s son.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: SCHLOSSADLER on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.
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