In Transit (film)

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In Transit
In Transit film poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed by Tom Roberts
Produced by
  • Jimmy de Brabant
  • Michael Dounaev
  • Kami Naghdi
Written by
  • Natalia Portnova
  • Simon van der Borgh
Music by Dan Jones
Cinematography Sergei Astakhov
Edited by Paul Carlin
Distributed by Peach Arch Films
Release dates
  • March 4, 2008 (2008-03-04) (Russia)
  • May 31, 2010 (2010-05-31) (United Kingdom)
Running time
113 minutes
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
Language English

In Transit (originally titled In Tranzit) is a 2008 Russian-British drama film based on the true story of German prisoners of war in a Soviet work camp after World War II. The film was directed by Tom Roberts, and stars Thomas Kretschmann, Daniel Brühl, Vera Farmiga, and John Malkovich.[1]

The film was released in Russian cinemas on March 4, 2008, and in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2010.


In the winter of 1946, in Leningrad, a group of German prisoners of war are sent to a female transit camp by the cruel Russian Colonel Pavlov (John Malkovich). When they arrive, the Russian female soldiers show the hostility to the enemies that have killed their husbands, families and friends; only Dr. Natalia (Vera Farmiga) and the cook treat the prisoners with dignity.

Natalia has an agreement with Colonel Pavlov to keep her former lover, who was wounded on the head during the war, in the camp instead of sending him to an institution in Siberia. Pavlov assigns Natalia to disclose the members of the SS infiltrated in the group of prisoners. Natalia and the prisoner Max (Thomas Kretschmann) feel a great attraction for each other, while another prisoner, Klaus (Daniel Brühl), tries to convince Max to denounce a couple of prisoners to satisfy Pavlov.

Natalia convinces the businessman Yakov (John Lynch) to organize an orchestra with the prisoners; they are invited to a ball, where the lonely women who survived the war get to dance with the Germans. After the ball, Natalia convinces Officer Elena (Thekla Reuten) to let the prisoners spend the night with the women. Natalia has a one night stand with Max and while he sneaks back to the quarters, he is attacked by Klaus but saved by Natalia, who then discovers who Klaus actually is.[2]



In Transit was directed by Tom Roberts, from a screenplay written by Natalia Portnova and Simon van der Borgh. The film was produced by Jimmy de Brabant, Michael Dounaev and Kami Naghdi. Principal photography took place over five weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia in March and April 2006.[3]


The film was sold at the Cannes Film Market in 2007 and was not subject to theatrical release thereafter. It was distributed straight to DVD by Peach Arch Films in Russia on March 4, 2008, Peach Arch Home Entertainment in the United States on May 5, 2009, and Peach Arch Films and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2010.[4] Pan Vision released the film straight to DVD in Denmark on March 30, 2010, Sweden on March 31, 2010, and Finland on April 1, 2010. The film was also released on DVD in Japan, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium.


In Transit received mixed reviews from film critics. The film was described by film critic Robert Roten as one where "strong acting helps overcome a meandering, but unpredictable plot. It is a solid international cast, and a story that, while not compelling, will keep you guessing right up to the end. It has an air of authenticity about it and it works for the most part."[5] By way of contrast, another critic, Don Groves, saw the film as "almost totally devoid of tension, marred by slack pacing, thinly developed characters and banal dialogue."[6]


  1. ^ "Daniel Brühl, Thomas Kretschmann and John Malkovich 'In Transit'". European Films. Archived from the original on May 26, 2006. Retrieved July 19, 2006. 
  2. ^ "In Transit (2008) - Plot Summary". Internet Movie Database. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Wendy (March 2, 2006). "Thema starts Russian shoot for In Transit". Screen Daily. 
  4. ^ "In Transit (2008) - Release Info". Internet Movie Database. 
  5. ^ Roten, Robert. "Grim WWII-era prison tale". Laramie Movie Scope. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ Groves, Don. "True story set in chilly Russia lacks heat and heart". SBS Australia. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 

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