I returned to work today after two weeks off. 336 e-mails awaited my attention. Not only that, but every time I did anything with any of them my copy of Outlook produced millions (well okay one each time then) of dialogue boxes screaming a warning at me that my mailbox was 95% full. (Thanks Bill, just one at the start of the day would have been fine.) Bloody Hell, it’s not the 3 Minute Warning, it’s just a bit of space on a hard drive somewhere, not a virus of “28 Days Later” proportions. What an overreaction it all was; I can’t stand anyone that exaggerates things. So anyway, I had in mind to now go and make a connection between this film and my hellish day on the frontline in the e-mail war zone, but somehow I can’t bring myself to do so; it’s just too much of a serious movie to trivialise it in that way.
1985 – Certificate: 15 – Soviet Union
Rating Details: Strong violence and holocaust footage
This is a bleak, bleak film. It starts off pretty depressing and then goes downhill. Take a trip alongside a youngster called Florya Gaishun, who proudly joins the Belarusian partisans (the local resistance movement) during the Second World War and slowly changes before our eyes into an aged, half-deaf, psychotic teenager, over a period of one summer. Yes, it really is as much fun as it sounds. Made in the Soviet Union in 1985, it does at times have the feel of a propaganda film, except that in those, the ‘good guys’ are normally seen as happy, courageous and generally over-achieving. In this they simply seem wretched, whilst the Nazis come across as Hell on Earth, destroying villages, stealing everything, murdering children and raping woman, whilst taking a lot of pleasure in doing so. It takes a bit of time to get going too (it’s 137 minutes long) and I found some of the editing a bit confusing, as the passage of time wasn’t always easy to gauge. It’s not Hollywood so there’re no heroes in this film. Kudos to the actors for some of what they had to go through too, wading through bogs, being shot at with live ammunition and generally having to run away from explosions and stuff. The acting, especially from the lead character, is top draw stuff. I was a bit uncomfortable about the scenes that involved some of the horses or the cow in them though; it looked a bit too much like they were being treated in entirely inappropriate ways; it might look realistic, but there’s no way that sort of thing is acceptable in a film. This isn’t an especially gory movie, it doesn’t need to be. However much gross horror and torture porn I watch, it’s films that’re based on reality that I find the most horrific. This is one of those. If you need convincing that war isn’t much fun and isn’t something you’d want to get involved with, here’s a good place to start. Probably one of the best war films ever made. It’s not exactly what you’d call entertaining, but it’s the sort of movie that ought to be seen.
Recommended for anyone that’s had a bad day and wants to put it in prospective.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? I’m not sure about this film, but anyone who lived through the sort of things depicted in it and managed to keep a sense of proportion in their lives afterwards, is totally badass.