22 August 2008 | Mihnea_aka_Pitbull
A credible melodrama, but a totally ridiculous story. However, we should understand it - the movie's pro-soviet propagandistic stance is explicit. Fact is that it's literally IMPOSSIBLE for any missing-in-action Italian (or German, if we come at that) soldier, to have been cutely integrated in the Russian society. The N.K.V.D. was everywhere, and any such foreigner would have been found in a matter of weeks (months, at most), and treated like a spy. The Georgian Butcher was reserving the same fate even to the Russian soldiers who fell prisoners to the enemy: his paranoia dictating that the only explanation for having survived was defection, they were considered by default traitors and sent to the Gulag. So, our poor Mastroianni here, far of happily living ever after with Savelieva, would have been deported to Vorkuta or Ekibastuz, as a spy, for 10 years (or, rather, 25 - these being the standard imprisoning terms). After being released (in case he survived the abuses of the extermination camps), he would have been forced to live in exile (forced domicile), still in some village of Siberia or the Central Asia deserts. No way in hell for him even to travel in some other Russian township, close by - while the idea of coming back to Italy for a visit is as ludicrous as sending him to Mars.
But, well, Guerra wrote the script before Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" was published, so he can be excused for being so ignorant about the Russian realities.