If you're feeling overwhelmed, but still want to squeeze a film into your daily routine, this list is made for…
Ballad of a Soldier
During World War II, 19 year old soldier Alyosha gets a medal as a reward for a heroic act at the front. Instead of this medal he asks for a few days leave to visit his mother and repair the roof of their home. On the train eastwards he meets Shura who is on her way to her aunt. In those few days traveling together they fall in love.
Three years before Andrei Tarkovsky made his first feature film Ivanovo Detstvo (1962) and became one of the most extraordinary directors of all time, war veteran Grigori Chukhrai wrote and directed a memorable and considerably beloved anti-war statement called Ballada o Soldate. This beautiful cinematographic achievement was basically one of the first films that accurately portrayed the human side of people that were involved in the war and the cataclysmic aftermath caused in an environment surrounded by hopelessness and chaos.
This remarkably respected and revolutionary war masterpiece is set on the times of World War II and opens on the Russian battlefront against the Germans where a young nineteen-year-old Russian soldier defeats two German tanks single-handedly. His name is Alyosha…
#45 movie Around the World in 80 Movies - Russia
Oh, boy. I loved it!
It's strange. The late fifties are all about the Japanese, Americans, Bergman and Fellini. It's Hitchcock, Wilder, Kurosawa, Kobayashi, Mizogushi, and whatnot, but it's before the French wave, before Tarkovsky, and no-one talks about what other Russians were doing. Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes are Flying or Grigoriy Chukhray's Ballad of a Soldier are still whispered about in quiet corners of cinephile forums, and if my recent experience with the latter is anything to go by... People should shout about them from the top of their roofs!
The cinematography is excellent, the storytelling is subtle and powerful, and Chukhray had me hooked from the opening scene.…
Why isn't Russian cinema given more importance today? I believe no one makes anti-war films or tell humanist stories in wake of war quite like them. Russia's cinematic importance goes further than that as well. Their filmmaking techniques and methods are as influential as German Expressionism. Anyways, Ballad of a Soldier is a 1959 Soviet film directed by Grigori Chukhrai. It is set during World War II but is not literally a war film. What this film basically does is to show the turmoil and affect of war on humans. That is done in a way which neither makes any sort of particular statement about a…
Ballad of a Soldier has an exciting opening. Alyosha Skvortsov (Vladimir Ivashov) finds himself in the middle of a tank battle. He runs and fights for his life – pursued by the mechanical German beasts, he does all he can to survive. And if that means blowing up the tanks, then so be it. There is a thin line between heroism and fear. It is difficult to tell the difference – or indeed know if fearless heroism is but an invention of the wartime propagandists.
But Alyosha is treated as a young hero all the same – and his reward is a few days R&R so he can return to his hometown to help fix the roof on his mother’s…
Week 28 of the Letterboxd Season Challenge 2015-16: Post-Stalin Soviet Union Week. My list.
Sad that this is so underseen, it's a great movie; its focus relies on Alyosha's trip to see his mother and the people he encounters along the way. By telling his fate at the opening of the film (like another war movie did years later), there's an underlying feeling of sadness and hopelessness that's subtle but always there. The lead actors are pretty good for first-timers, and the cinematography is surprisingly sharp and beautiful.
Just one of those movies for which all the words in the world are too small.
This film reminds me why I love film and why I think film is a very important and very necessary medium and art form. This film is about a young Russian soldier during World War II who asks for a few days leave to visit his mother as reward for a heroic act. On the way, he meets a series of events that delays him along with a girl who he falls in love with. The story is fictional but one can't help but feel that a version of this might have happened at some point during the war. The film is heartbreaking and very bittersweet but manages to find moments of humor. I've seen so many movies about World War II, but this film still managed to affect me. It's essential viewing.
A movie in which a sentient moral compass dressed as a Russian soldier runs some errands for some people.
(I'm sure this movie was objectively very good.)
Beautiful and bitterly brutal take on what it took to be a Soviet soldier against the Germans in World War Two, with a love story at its core. Stupifyingly well constructed and shot, considering its circumstances.
Those Russians and their damn tracking shots.
An incredible surprise. The USSR, WWII, and the tale of a young soldier trying to get home for leave. Tremendous cinematography and feeling. Thank you, Turner Classic Movies!
That Ballad of a Soldier focuses on the farewell tour of a genuinely good person and soldier could have easily played as condescending. Certainly an educated (or simply empathetic) audience was aware of the great devastation and loss of war without this sort of artistic manipulation. But writer/director Grigoriy Chukhray wisely positions the film as not a polemical anti-war story, but a beautifully understated, humanist narrative about earthly beauty. For a story so dire, the picture focuses on the pleasures of a reunited couple, a burgeoning young love, a son’s love for his mother, and so on—that these are all short-lived encounters certainly renders them bittersweet, but their very sweetness is key. Without perverting the chaos of battle for long…
Our 2016 Movie Challenge
July - The Soviet Union
#16 Good Samaritans, trains, and soap
This should have been called "Ballad of the People Soldiers Leave Behind". I don't usually like romantic storylines in movies but I have to admit that without it, this movie would have been boring, just a guy traveling alone on a train. It was difficult not to like the kind and generous Alexei and the beautiful Shura. Their youthful enthusiasm, charisma, innocence and tender scenes together were touching. But the most memorable character and storyline belonged to Vasya, played wonderfully by
Yevgeni Urbansky. In a movie filled with beautiful imagery, the closeup of his hand crushing the telegram stood out.
Grigori Chukhrai's Ballad of a Soldier is a deeply felt and powerfully moving wartime drama. Anchored by two remarkable performances by the amateur actors Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko, the film has some stunning cinematography and writing that make it an incredible testament to the powers of Russian cinema and anti-war humanism. Gorgeous film, and yet another notch in the absurdly strong year of 1959.
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
UPDATED: September 11, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…