A group of Russian soldiers fight to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to two Russian women who have been living there.
Released four years after the end of World War II, this Soviet propaganda epic replays the titanic struggle of the Russian army against the Nazi invaders while spotlighting the now almost ... See full summary »
During the 3 episodes a number of letters are read by the narrator and some actors in order to portray different soldiers and civilians from both sides. But in fact, all the excerpts came from letters of German soldiers. The nationality of some people who wrote the letters and sometimes even the gender had been changed. See more »
First, I'll just get a few short comings of this work out of the way.
(a) It helps if you know something about the battle before watching this documentary. You -might- feel a little lost in the bigger-picture sense without such knowledge.
(b) Those looking for an in-depth military analysis of the battle should look elsewhere. This film is brilliant in its ability to capture the experience of war, not the theory behind it. Hence, there are not a lot of maps, etc. in this movie.
(c) Sometimes the film can be a but redundant.
So, now that all of that is out of the way, on to the good stuff. What really makes this film shine is the first-person accounts by people who were actually there, and lived through it. Both ex-German and Russian soldiers are interviewed, along with Russian civilians. It is said that a soldier only really experiences war in the 1000 feet that is around him. If that is true, then this film is a horrifying, moving, and amazing account of those 1000 feet. It also abuts the historical-drama movie by the same name. The two are really worth watching in tandem. This is a bottom-up account of Stalingrad that illuminates the experiences of the common foot soldier, which is often a story not heard from the German side of things. I really feel this is "must see" for anyone with even a remote interest in WWII.
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