In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
The feature film directed by Elem Klimov, shot in the genre of military drama. The action takes place on the territory of Belarus in 1943. In the center of the story is a Belarusian boy, who witnesses the horrors of the Nazi punitive action, turning from a cheerful teenager into a gray-haired old man for two days.Written by
The director planned to have Aleksey Kravchenko hypnotized by a psychotherapist during the most dreadful and violent scenes so that they wouldn't affect his young mind. However Kravchenko turned out not to be susceptible to hypnosis and had to pretend all the way. See more »
Many of the vehicles seen in this film are not the German standard Opel-Blitz truck nor the Kubelwagen car. Instead they are clearly post-World War II Soviet vehicles with slapped on German Army markings. See more »
The best true-to-life war movie I have ever seen, and possibly the best movie I have ever seen. My eyes were opened when I saw this for the first time a few days ago. It made me realise what I miss 99% of the time when watching movies. So few affect me like this one did.
No special effects of note, no big budget, no set-pieces of note, no heroes, no redemption. I feel quite sure the director has really captured what war 'feels' like - unlike Spielberg and Coppola's depictions of war, this director lived through WW2 and the horrific siege of Stalingrad, as well as spending many months researching the massacres in Belarus, one of which he depicts in this film (this from the DVD extras, well worth watching).
The direction, cinematography, soundtrack and AMAZING acting by a first-time untrained actor in the main role are faultless, in my humble opinion.
I found this film depressing and emotionally draining, but cannot wait to watch it again.
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