White Tiger (2012 film)
Russian DVD cover
|Directed by||Karen Shakhnazarov|
|Based on||Tankist, ili "Belyy tigr"|
by Ilya Boyashov
|Edited by||Irina Kozhemyakina|
White Tiger (Russian: Белый тигр, translit. Belyy tigr) is a 2012 Russian war film, directed by Karen Shakhnazarov and co-written with Aleksandr Borodyansky based on the novel Tankist, ili "Belyy tigr" (The Tank Crewman, Tanker or The White Tiger) by Russian novelist Ilya Boyashov. The film is about a badly wounded Soviet tank commander on the Eastern Front of World War II who becomes obsessed with tracking down and destroying a mysterious, invincible Nazi tank, which the Soviet troops call the "White Tiger". The Soviets design a new, more powerful T-34 tank and assign the tank commander the job of destroying the White Tiger.
After an Eastern Front tank battle in the summer of 1943, a Russian tank driver is found alive in a destroyed Soviet tank among dozens of other wrecked tanks. Miraculously recovering from burns on 90% of his body, he suffers amnesia and cannot recall his identity. He receives a new passport with the name Ivan Naydёnov (from the Russian word найденный, "found") and is returned to duty. Naydёnov believes he has the mysterious ability to communicate with tanks as if they were people, though he tries not to advertise this. He is also recognized as the best tank driver in his army group.
In the meantime, rumors arise about a new, invincible Nazi tank that appears seemingly out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly, destroying dozens of Soviet tanks. A captured German soldier describes the tank as a Panzer VI Tiger painted completely in white. This mysterious, heavily-armored and powerfully-armed enemy tank is dubbed the "White Tiger" by the Soviet and German forces.
Naydёnov is given command of a prototype tank, an upgraded version of a T-34/85 with stronger armor, a more powerful engine, and only needing three crew members. Given his skills, Naydёnov is ordered to locate and destroy this White Tiger. He plans to hide his tank in a ditch in the middle of a forest and use another T-34 to lure the White Tiger into an ambush. On the edge of the forest, the White Tiger appears and opens fire. Naydёnov's plan fails, the other T-34 is destroyed by the Tiger, and Naydёnov's tank is damaged when the Tiger hits it from behind. The White Tiger then retreats back into the forest from which it came. The crew of Naydёnov's tank is confused on why the White Tiger didn't destroy them when it had been behind them at such a close range. The Soviet officers believe the Tiger sank into the swamp behind the forest where it disappeared, but Naydёnov believes it's still out there.
As the story turns out, Naydёnov believes in the existence of "The Tank God" He thinks that he was revived because the Tank God wanted Him to destroy the "White Tiger". He believes this is why he can understand the tanks and why he survives his battles, he thinks that when shells are fired at him his own tank warns him of the incoming danger and he avoids it. Naydёnov becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious Nazi tank. He is convinced that the enemy tank is unmanned, a ghost of the war. The counterintelligence officer assigned to track down the White Tiger comes to believe the latter's interpretation and assists Naydënov. A captured German officer also reveals that he has never received any reports or documents on the existence of this Tiger, and he remarks that the legend of the death tank is causing more fear than hope in the German Army.
During a subsequent battle, a Soviet tank force is completely destroyed by the White Tiger, which reloads and fires faster and more accurately than any tank crew should have been able to. When it withdraws, Naydёnov gives chase in his tank and comes upon an abandoned village. After destroying a hidden Panzer IV, he comes upon the White Tiger and engages it. The White Tiger's turret is damaged during the battle, but it manages to escape after Naydënov's T-34's gun is disabled. The sympathetic counterintelligence officer attempts to convince his commanding general that both the White Tiger and the "born-again" Naydёnov are creations not of man, but of the war itself. The general is unconvinced and sends the counterintelligence officer on 10-day leave, thinking the officer is exhausted or insane.
After the Battle of Berlin and the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, the counterintelligence officer meets Naydёnov in a field and tries to convince him to go home, saying that the war is over. But Naydёnov disagrees, saying that the war will not truly end until the White Tiger is destroyed. Naydёnov believes the White Tiger has gone into hiding and has been recovering from its wounds since their last battle. He claims it will return in several decades unless it is completely destroyed. Naydёnov then vanishes along with his tank, seemingly into thin air.
In the final scene, Hitler is shown seated in a large room with a fireplace, talking to a shadowy stranger and defending his actions during the war. Monologue begins with an observation that he and Germany will from now on be seen as monsters, he then proceeds with an insinuation that his attack on Russia was only a realization of what all of Europe silently wanted and were uneasy to openly admit. He finally ends with saying that war has no beginning or end and that it is the original human state.
- Gerasim Arkhipov as Captain Sharipov
- Aleksandr Bakhov as Kryuk
- Vilmar Biri as Generaladmiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg
- Dmitriy Bykovskiy-Romashov as General Smirnov
- Vitaliy Dordzhiev as Berdyev
- Valeriy Grishko as Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
- Klaus Gryunberg as Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen Stumpff
- Vladimir Ilin as Chief of the Hospital
- Dmitriy Kalyazin as young sailor
- Yuriy Kirshev
- Vitaliy Kishchenko as Major Fedotov
- Karl Krantskovski as Adolf Hitler
- Andrey Myasnikov as General
- Leonid Orlov as German POW
- Christian Redl as Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel
- Maykl Shenks
- Mariya Shashlova as Voennvrach
- Aleksey Vertkov as Ivan Naydenov
- List of submissions to the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Russian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "White Tiger". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 25 August 2017
- "Karen Shakhnazarov's "White Tiger"nominated for Oscar". PanArmenian. PanArmenian. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.