Direkt zum Hauptbereich

Ballada o soldate / Ballad of a soldier (Grigoriy Chukhay, 1959)

A young war hero gets five days of leave to visit his mother in his home village but gets sidetracked by the people he meets on the journey.

The film is profoundly moving and once the slightly pathetic tone of the story is set firm it becomes the highly emotional journey that will leave every viewer in tears. It's heart-wrenching when the two lovers realize that they truly have found each other the moment they have to separate, possibly forever.

The naiveté and stubbornness of the protagonist is illustrated by many small stories in the beginning: his willingness to give up his material goods for his new-found friends, his support for the crippled, the elderly and his dedication to at least hug his mother one last time. It's also his youth that makes him ignore the terrible facts of war - and although people around him die off like flies he seems oblivious to any kind of danger. When the voice-over concludes that we have lost a human being who might have been remarkable, I felt deeply sorry for the loss.

The girl was quite amazing to watch, too - she has a magic and an innocence that was even more believable than that of the protagonist. 

The camerawork is beautiful and impressive - there are many creative techniques at work. The first scene shows the soldier chased by a tank and ends with the image upside down. It's a very simple, but extremely effective camera move. Another beautiful construction is the overlay of the woman's image with the birch forest - again a straightforward idea, but so well weaved into the story that it's a great addition to the film as a whole.


Kommentare

Beliebte Posts aus diesem Blog

They drive by night (Walsh, 1940) #DTC #161

Two truck-driving brothers dream of a better future and financial independence in a sea of good and bad fortune.

Although the film has all the ingredients of a film noir, like the selfish femme fatale, Bogart, and many night scenes, this is something you could consider a feel-good movie. It pretty much surprised me with its turns and twists and I also wasn't prepared in the least to see Bogart as the sidekick, instead of the lead.

In terms of interesting characters, Ida Lupino as the selfish wife that tries to seduce George Raft's Joe she is definitively at the most intense when she slowly sheds all the layers of sanity towards the end. Although her motives are a bit unclear - the amazing thing about her behavior is that she values love over money. In that perspective the movie feels like a tragedy, as (except for the loan shark) everybody has comparatively sophisticated understanding of emotion and life.

Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle, 1987)

During second world war the monk running a boarding school for upper-class kids hides Jewish kids.

This highly personal movie is very touching and manages to avoid all the pitfalls of being overly emotional. Music and editing are very subdued and carefully used to underline situations. This makes the story ring true (which it was) and gives the viewer good time to settle into the universe that these kids live in.

There are many quite complicated scenes and I was interested in one particular: When Jean gets invited on parent's day by the mother of his new best friend into a posh restaurant. In that very restaurant there are Nazis at one side of the room and an elderly Jew sitting on the other side. The table of the family is right inbetween. Many things about France during the war are told during this scene, I'll just try and focus on camera placement.


The focus shifts twice in the scene: From the family table to the French Jew's table  (who I have been told wears the red …

Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)

A young commander in the civil war is asked to recruit and lead the first all-black Confederate battalion into the Civil War.

I am not too interested in details of the American Civil War but the film managed to stir my interest in some ways. I might want to look up the difference in treatment of the many Chinese laborers that were employed in the development of the West and what kind of legacy this particular group of people has to suffer from in contrast to the better-known fate of African-Americans.

There are some interesting scenes in the film. I decide to examine the battle scene in the beginning. It introduces Broderick's character as a naive and brave but inexperienced soldier - a great choice of casting, especially in contrast to the hardened appearance of Washington. According to imdb footage was used from re-enactment groups and intercut with the staged film.

Before the battle scene commences Broderick walks in row of soldiers and talks over the pictures of the gathering…