Stalingrad (2013 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fedor Bondarchuk|
|Produced by||Alexander Rodnyansky
Steve Schklair (3D Producer)
|Written by||Ilya Tilkin
|Music by||Angelo Badalamenti|
|Editing by||Natalia Gorina|
|Studio||Art Pictures Group
Non Stop Production
Sony Pictures Releasing and Columbia Pictures
|Running time||131 minutes|
Stalingrad (Russian: Сталинград) is a 2013 Russian war drama film directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. This is the first Russian movie completely produced with IMAX 3D technology and shot using 3ality Technica's TS-5 and Stereoscopic Image Processor. At the same time, this project is the first Russian and non-American film produced using the IMAX format. The film was released in September 2013 in Volgograd and October in Russia before spreading out worldwide in subsequent months. The film was selected as the Russian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. Stalingrad received the I3DS (International 3D and Advanced Imaging Society) Jury Award for Russia in 2014.
The film is about The Battle of Stalingrad (August 23, 1942 – February 2, 1943), a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the southwestern Soviet Union. Marked by constant close quarters combat and disregard for military and civilian casualties, it is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. The heavy losses inflicted on the Wehrmacht make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole war. It was a turning point in the European theatre of World War II–the German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to reinforce their losses.
A group of Soviet reconnaissance troops under command of Gromov are sent to prepare the way for a larger landing by Soviet troops from across Volga river in their sector of the city. The group occupies a building that also shelters some surviving civilians, and are soon fighting German troops attempting to take the building. Hauptmann Kahn, the officer commanding the German troops, falls in love with one of the Soviet women in the building, a young woman named Masha.
- Pyotr Fyodorov as Gromov
- Dmitriy Lysenkov as Chavanov
- Alexey Barabash as Nikiforov
- Andrey Smolyakov as Polyakov
- Sergey Bondarchuk Jr. as Sergey Astakhov
- Oleg Volku as Krasnov
- Philippe Reinhardt as Gottfried
- Georges Devdariani as Klose
- Yanina Studilina as Masha
- Maria Smolnikova as Katya
- Thomas Kretschmann as Hauptmann Kahn
- Heiner Lauterbach as Oberst Henze
- Polina Raikina as Natashka
- Yuri Nazarov as Navodchik
The original script by Ilya Tilkin does not have any literary source. The screenwriter studied diaries of the participants of the Battle of Stalingrad. He also used museum archives, documents and recorded stories of its participants.
The plot is based on "a dramatic love story against the backdrop of a grand battle." The action takes place in 1942 when the German troops occupied the bank of the Volga river. Having failed while attempting to cross the Volga to launch a counteroffensive on the German Army, the Soviet troops were forced to retreat. However, a few soldiers managed to get to the shore on the enemy's side. They remained hidden in a coastal house where they met a girl. The Germans had occupied her home, and she did not have time to leave the front lines.
Against the backdrop of the most bloody battle in the history of mankind develops a love story, and, from that moment, the soldiers have to protect this girl at any cost. The prototype of this house is the legendary Pavlov's House in Stalingrad. On the eve of the filming, the script was significantly rewritten by the director and screenwriter Sergey Snezhkin including the plot and dialogues.
The first part of filming took place in autumn 2011 and lasted 17 days. During that time, two key episodes of the battle were shot, in which 900 extras and historical reenactors took part in crowd scenes. The main shooting process began at the end of May 2012 and ran until July 27, 2012.
Colossal scenery was constructed especially for Stalingrad filming at the former factory "Krasny Treugolnik" in St. Petersburg, and the Third North Fort near Kronstadt. Every detail for the movie sets depicting the centre of Stalingrad and the east bank of the Volga were faithfully and painstakingly reproduced, reflecting the vast scale of the battle. The budget for its construction was more than 120 Million Rubles, and it took 6 months and over 400 people to construct the decorations.
For the reason that I continue to work on this project, I read all the history of the Battle of Stalingrad. From "Stalingrad" by Antony Beevor and "In the Trenches of Stalingrad" by Nekrasov to "Iron Cross" by Wilhelm Heinrich and "Life and Fate" by Vasily Grossman.
– Fedor Bondarchuk, the director of Stalingrad
It is planned that all German speech will not be dubbed into Russian in favour of subtitles instead.
Fedor Bondarchuk and Thomas Kretschmann have already starred in films with the name Stalingrad around the same time. Thomas was in the 1993 German film, and Fedor was in the 1989 Russian film, which was directed by Yuriy Ozerov.
Reception of the film was mixed. It was praised for stunning visuals, sound editing, music, and acting, but at the same time criticized for direction and melodramatic plot. According to Russian review aggregator Kritikanstvo.ru, its average critical score in Russian media is 63 out of 100. Such media as Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Vedomosti, Izvestia, Kommersant, Expert were positive about the film. Several others, including Argumenty i Fakty, Ogoniok, and web publicist Dmitry Puchkov, gave negative reviews. Some of the critics were disappointed by the film's plot on patriotic grounds: they felt it does not pay a tribute to the heroes of Stalingrad battle, but rather concentrates too much on a love story. Scott Gentry (a UK film critic) of Utopia Reviews (utopiareviews.blogspot.co.uk) praised the film like others on its visuals and action sequences, but stated that the film disappointed in terms of character, plot and story.
According to VTsIOM poll, Stalingrad was the most popular film of 2013 in Russia. 12% of respondents named it as "Film of the year", which is far above 4% for the runner-up, sport drama Legend#17.
On American film aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 48% rating, with an average score of 5.5/10, based on reviews from 61 critics. The site's consensus states: "There's no arguing with its impressive production values, but Stalingrad should have devoted more attention to the screenplay and spent less on special effects-enhanced spectacle." On another American aggregation website, Metacritic, the film has a 49/100 (citing "mixed or average reviews"), based on reviews from 21 critics.
Stalingrad was a huge box office success. With US$51,700,000, it set a new box office record for contemporary Russian films. It also set the record for opening weekend takings, with revenue of US$16,120,000.
- Cinema of Russia
- List of submissions to the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Russian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
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- Критиканство.ру: Сталинград
- В окопах «Сталинграда». Федор Бондарчук вернул возможность помнить, что мы в кино. – «Российская газета» 14.10.2013
- Антон Долин.Что немцу хорошо. Ведомости, 04.10.2013
- Всероссийский центр изучения общественного мнения. Пресс-выпуск № 2484. Итоги года: люди, программы, фильмы
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- "Stalingrad". Metacritic. Retrieved February 27, 2014.