German poster - (left to right) Rybak, the village headman, Sotnikov, the young girl, Demchikha
|Directed by||Larisa Shepitko|
|Written by||Vasil Bykov (novel Sotnikov)
|Music by||Alfred Schnittke|
|Running time||111 minutes|
The Ascent (Russian: Восхождение, tr. Voskhozhdeniye) is a 1977 black-and-white Soviet drama film directed by Larisa Shepitko and made at Mosfilm. It was Shepitko's last film before her death in a car accident in 1979. The film won the Golden Bear award at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival in 1977. It was also selected as the Soviet entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 50th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), two Soviet partisans go to a Belarusian village in search of food. After taking a farm animal from the collaborationist headman (Sergei Yakovlev), they head back to their unit, but are spotted by a German patrol. Though the two men get away, Sotnikov (Boris Plotnikov) is shot in the leg. Rybak (Vladimir Gostyukhin) has to take him to the nearest shelter, the home of Demchikha (Lyudmila Polyakova), the mother of three young children. However, they are discovered and captured.
The two men and a sobbing Demchikha are taken to the German camp. Sotnikov is questioned first by the traitor Portnov (Anatoli Solonitsyn). When he refuses to answer Portnov's questions, Sotnikov is brutally tortured by members of the Belarusian Auxiliary Police, loyal to the Germans, but gives up no information. However, Rybak is a different story. He tells as much as he thinks the police already know, hoping to live so he can escape later. The headman, now suspected of supporting the partisans, and a young girl are imprisoned in the same cellar for the night.
The next morning, all are led out to be hanged. Rybak persuades Portnov and the Germans to let him join the police. The others are executed.
As he heads back to the camp with his new comrades, Rybak is vilified by the villagers. Finally realizing what he has done, he tries to hang himself with his belt in the outhouse, but the belt becomes unfastened. He ties it more securely, but cannot summon the courage to go through with it a second time. Exiting the outhouse, he sees the door to the camp open, but breaks down in tears as he realizes he does not dare to try to escape.
- Boris Plotnikov as Sotnikov
- Vladimir Gostyukhin as Rybak
- Sergei Yakovlev as Village elder
- Lyudmila Polyakova as Demchikha
- Viktoriya Goldentul as Basya
- Anatoli Solonitsyn as Portnov, the Nazi interrogator
- Mariya Vinogradova as Village elder's wife
- Nikolai Sektimenko as Stas'
- List of recent films in black and white
- List of submissions to the 50th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Soviet submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "Berlinale 1977 - Filmdatenblatt". Archiv der Internationale Filmfestspiele in Berlin. 1977. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
- Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- The Ascent at the Internet Movie Database
- The Ascent at AllMovie
- The Ascent at the official Mosfilm site with English subtitles