Voskhozhdeniye (The Ascent) (1978)
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Critic Reviews for Voskhozhdeniye (The Ascent)
The scenario's religious overtones notwithstanding, its brutal realism is overwhelming.
Audience Reviews for Voskhozhdeniye (The Ascent)
certainly a beautifully made propaganda. the christian imagery seems weirdly blatant for a soviet film. this is on mosfilm's youtube channel
In "The Ascent," a group of partisans during the Great Patriotic War are being picked off one by one by the occupying and much better armed Nazi soldiers. To make matters worse, they are also quickly running out of food. Rybak(Vladimir Gostyukhin) knows the local area and volunteers to go to a local farmhouse, along with Sotnikov(Boris Plotnikov), a trained soldier, who has no experience with the extreme cold and quickly falls ill. They find the farmhouse burned to the ground and venture further to a village where they appropriate a sheep from the local headman(Serge Yakovlev). But before they can make it back to camp, they are ambushed.
Directed by Larisa Shepitko, "The Ascent" is a harrowing war movie whose chain of events deliberately builds to a powerful finale. My only complaint is that the opening credits are displayed over the action. The movie is set in a frozen snow-covered landscape that almost appears to be a whiteout at times(at one point, the men stumble across a frozen lake) where survival can be difficult, even when it is not during a time of war. The movie does a very good job of using this setting to explore the high price of capitulation during war time. This is something Sotnikov would not even consider as he tries shooting himself rather than being taken prisoner before Rybak rescues him. In retrospect, we know how this war will end but all the characters see is a bleak future before them.
Jan 2011 - This is nothing but propaganda but it is made so well that it is impossible to ignore it just as propaganda. The story unfolds with so much parallelism with the story of the crucification. In the last sequence this becomes excruciating where the christ is being hung (crucified), we have the Judas, christ's apostles and obviously Germans (romans). Interesting that near the end I remembered that I had seen this when I was around 10 years old and the pain and depression that I had gone through seeing all that has remained so much with me.
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