This story won’t be true, however, who knows maybe certain parts of it could have happened. You know, during the war anything can happen, I guess. This story is told in the movie “Stalingrad” (2013). I have a lot of things to tell, so I’ll just start from the beginning.
The very beginning of the film show us how life and history puts things in its places. 2011 March 11th earthquake in Japan, lots of victims, lots of tourists who were hurt. At first minutes, it felt like you’re watching completely different movie with different plot. As the disaster that shook all Japan was really big Russian MChS came to help. Coincidence or not but MChS lifeguard tries to safe German kids, to calm them down he starts to tell his story. A story about five fathers. A story about five fathers who died so others could live in peace.
The autumn of 1942, Stalingrad (curently Volgograd). Russians were about to fight for Stalingrad city not allowing Germans (Nazis) to take it and get an entrance to the Volga lake which would lead them to India.
This “Stalingrad” movie is the first Russian movie made in in three main formats: 3D, IMAX 3D, and 2D. All these effects are very impressive and grotesque at the same time, but it’s just too much. I wish that the plot was the stronger part of the film, not effects. The plot of the film actually goes around a house, not entire Stalingrad or famous battle of Stalingrad, so the title in this case is misleading but loud enough to attract attention.
What I liked about this Russian film about World War II was that it was was least propagandic and ideological compared to the same subject films coming from Soviet period or even modern Russian cinematography. Here, it was shown that Nazi soldier is also a human, with feelings, conscious, understanding the stupiditiy of war. Soviet soldier is also shown as a human, not a 100 percent hero a priori, who can be wrong, unfair. Or, as it was said: “Germans (Nazis) were cruel for enemies, Soviets for their own people” – probably, but on the other hand, it is very difficult not to become cruel when all you see is injustice, meaningless victims, death, blood day after day, after day especially when you have to kill your own people so they wouldn’t have to suffer (e.g. from being burned alive) even if this is only a child.
When you watch movies about WW II, even though their plot is weak, but somehow they still have strong emotional effect. It’s so sad and horibble to understand what those people got through. Young people had to go to fight in the war. Everybody faught the way they knew, there was no time for training. So they were just thrown into this massacre. Or, as in case, of this movie, you see a house that has to be guarded. A house were people used to live, were happy… Now, it’s all destroyed, everything’s gone… It’s so scary to acknwoledge that all your normal life can be destroyed by war in most brutal way. I mean it is crazy how people using all these machines, guns, weapons are able to destroy everything: history, life, everything that all these generations have created. Not surprising why those who survived didn’t like to remember this part of their lives.
5 men – 5 different stories
Here we are introduced with lots of characters, but only few of them are portrayed precisely. Basically, it is shown what characters are the most important for the entire plot to be combined. So, of course for us are important Masha, the girl who stayed in her house despite the fact it was destroyed, German soldier Hauptmann Peter Kahn, but most importantly – 5 Soviet soldiers. These 5 men were gathered to fight one war and protect one house and one girl.
1) Nikiforov – was a famous tenor who at war became dumb. He was a volunteer since the very first day of war.
2) Polyakov had a happy family: young wife and a daughter. By the time he was Stalingrad his wife and daughter were dead for almost a year.
3) Sgt. Chavanov lost his 7 – year old brother just because his name was Vladimir Ilyich. His older sister was raped by Nazis and left to die, his mother was wounded seriously and her wounded arm had to be amputated.
4) Lt. Sergey Astakhov drafted into the war as a spotter. He was a talended soldier (if you can say so). From his company he was the only one alive.
5) Capt. Gromov – professional hero. He had no family, no home, nothing… except the house he had to protect.
These were five men, who met in Stalingrad and became fathers for the MChS lifeguard who narrated this story.
Obviously these 5 soldiers died. They died as many other people during this war, all these people who haven’t even been decently buried.
Life does not stop during the war.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. During that horror life continues: people are born, people fall in love and have their piece of hapiness. Without that to survive war would be probably impossible. Sometimes love would happen even between enemies – Nazi soldier and Russian girl, or maybe this is only a made up story suitable only for movies.
Or such simple things like birthdays also existed. Though, you can say that every single day you survive in war is a little birthday. Every little thing in war might be the biggest thing ever: a piece of bread, a candy, the best cake is made from black bread and condensed milk and a hot bath is the best present ever. Priorities change drastically.
At the end I would like to say that it must be hard to go to war acknowledging that you can die, it’s hard to realise you’re dying when you’ve fought so hard… I wish that none of us would have to go through war, and those who are, that the war would stop as soon as possible, because nothing good comes out of it. Saddly, not everybody understands it.