War On Screen - Festival International des cinémas de guerre

Focus in Stalingrad

They fought for their country wednesday

Horaires de la séance de 10h30 à 13h15

Lieu de la séance Bibliothèque

Réalisateur Sergei Bondarchuk


Film length : 137 min

Language(s) : Russian, French Subtitles

Format : 35mm

Genre : Drama

They fought for their country (1975)

Starring Vasily Shukshin, Sergei Bondarchuk


July 1942 and the 38th artillery regiment is retreating from the German drive on Stalingrad. Exhausted after a 30 kilometre march that morning, the troop arrives at a small village on the right bank of the Don River.
While the film does reiterate the official discourse on the conflict, it nonetheless marks a sharp contrast with what had thus far been shown in Soviet films. To start with, there is the choice of period itself: the summer 1942 retreat from the battle of Stalingrad, when the USSR was, in the words of Jean Lopez, “on the brink of the abyss”. Moreover, the film is keen to portray soldiers questioning the sense of the fighting in which they are engaged, along with a civilian population hostile to a military that is beating a hasty retreat from the enemy. All in all, the script endeavours to portray actual soldiers, not their leaders: soldiers tormented by day-to-day concerns – the fear of death; food, drink, fleeting romance…




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