Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Dawns Are Quiet Here

     It was a Soviet WW II movie, good enough to get international attention.  Before that, it was a war novel.*  And in 2015, a Russian media company made a four-episode mini-series.

     I just finished watching the 2015 version.  It's a sobering and emotionally engaging look at the Russian WW II experience; it is set in the northwest and the main character is a sergeant who had served in that area during the Winter War with Finland, been badly wounded, and ended up back in the middle of nowhere, at a minor rail junction with a couple of AA guns and a small group of soldiers.

     Various complications follow -- and then a group of German army saboteurs are parachuted into the woods, presumably to damage the railroad or a more important canal not terribly far away. By chance, their presence is discovered.  Communications are poor, manpower is scarce, and the sergeant and six of his soldiers have to stop what they think are two enemy soldiers.  --But it's never that simple, is it?

     The Dawns Are Quiet Here is a bit of a tear-jerker, and hardcore tactical types will likely find plenty of points to criticize in the actual battles; but it's an engrossing, well-told story.  There's a little gratuitous female nudity, and the kind of violence you'd expect from a war movie: I don't think this one is for the kids.  Adults may find it interesting.  I did.  In Russian, with subtitles -- and a good enough cast you won't notice you're reading.
* But not one you can easily find in English.  It appears the only translation was published during Soviet rule; it's scarce, long out of print, and expensive when you find a copy.


pigpen51 said...

I am finding that often, the best movies made are foreign language films, with English subtitles. It seems as if the American movie makers think that all they have to do is rehash an old idea or do a sequel of a shoot em up, and the mindless masses will flock to spend their money at the theaters. We had a small, independent theater that had mostly indie films, or second run movies. They also had lower prices than the chain here in our city. They closed, not once, but twice, with new people trying and failing to make a go of it. Rumors swirled that Michael Moore was going to bankroll a third go at it, I live in Michigan, by the way, but that didn't happen. Finally, someone opened it up, once again, but in order to make it work, they started to show the same crap that the other chain theater shows. The chain, by the way, must have a hand in things, because for the other attempts, they locked the small guys out of getting any first run movies. Now, they can, so I suppose they came to an agreement. And wonder of wonders, the chain here in town, now sells alcohol in the movies. I could not believe it, when I heard it. It seemed a little bit unreal to me, somehow. I don't know why, it just seems like a poor place for that, but I tend to be a naive country bumpkin.

Anonymous said...

So where does one find this cinematic treasure?

As for foreign language films... I second pigpen51's sentiment.

Since most foreign films don't have the budget for special effects, they actually have to rely on STORYTELLING. Go figure. In an era where a film can be a cross between Godzilla and Mecha (Pacific Rim) and not do too bad... A film with an engaging story? Not aimed at 14-year-old boys. Simply amazing.

Monty James said...

Don't know if you've run across this site or not, but it has Soviet films both cool, and funky:

Soviet Movies in English

Several enjoyable science fiction movies.

Roberta X said...

Wheelgun: I found the TV miniseries version via Amazon prime. It was a suggestion -- I guess my taste for historicals has been noticed.

Monty: I will check it out! Thank you.