15 March 2009 | praecept0r
Don't confuse with 1993 film
Judging by the commentary, everyone is confusing this movie with Stalingrad (1993) by Joseph Vilsmaier. This is NOT the story from German perspective. This is a soviet-style epic, typical of Ozerov's work. This means we are shown a Soviet textbook illustration, nothing too emotional here, even the scene of NKVD officer shooting the soldiers who lost their guns in Kharkov retreat.
The year of production is 1989, the times of "perestroika", so Ozerov goes a little bold here, depicting briefly something that Brezhnev times did not like to mention, i.e. the tremendous defeat under Kharkov, due to total incompetence of Stalin & co. Nevertheless, the rest of the approach is still the same old beaten one - see 'Osvobozhdenie', etc.
Germans are a bit caricature, Hitler, in particular. Stalin is your textbook Stalin. Churchill doesn't look like Churchill. Ozerov's style makes all the persons on the screen as illustrations, unemotional, not too human in a way, just automatons that speak and move about. There are few exceptions, but overall this is how it goes. This is very typical of the war epic Soviet style. Big brush strokes, lots of voice-overs that sound like Sovinformbureau reports, etc. Recreation of history is a noble goal, but what Ozerov manages to create is yet another myth. The real war was a much dirtier, bloodier and crazier affair than what we see on the screen here. Stalingrad was hell on earth where two sides fought for days for every remnants of a brick wall. It is hard to imagine, and even harder to portray. And the broader historical perspective was much more complex and very different. For example, the command staff in the movie is all about Zhukov again, when the real hero among the commanders was Chuikov. etc, etc.
I really despise everything that Ozerov created on screen. These are the worst examples of soviet cinema. There are so many great soviet movies about the war, but everything that this guy created without shame is just rotten to the core.