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The Ascent Photos

Movie Info

Two Soviet soldiers leave their starving unit to search a nearby farm for supplies. When they see the Germans have reached it first, they have to retreat deep into enemy territory.

Cast & Crew

Mariya Vinogradova
Village elder's wife
Sergey Yakovlev
Village elder
Yuriy Klepikov
Screenwriter
Larisa Shepitko
Screenwriter
Alfred Shnitke
Original Music
Vladimir Chukhnov
Cinematographer
Pavel Lebeshev
Cinematographer
Yuriy Raksha
Production Design
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Critic Reviews for The Ascent

All Critics (6) | Fresh (6)

Audience Reviews for The Ascent

  • Mar 06, 2014
    Potentially one of the 50 best war films in human history. Japan and Roberto Rossellini were two of the three parties around the world that reached an unprecedented level of humanism in war-themed manifestos. The third party was the Soviet Union. This classification in no way intends to diminish the many facets of war and its overwhelming power at transforming the human soul. On the contrary, my statement is aimed specifically towards <b>humanism</b> war testaments. If the situation forced us to narrow down Japan to one single filmmaker, then the colossal <i>The Human Condition</i> (1959-1961) would pop out from a sea of masterpieces, and Kobayashi would reign supreme. This is, of course, not official, but only my humble point of view. But here lies the thing: Kobayashi required more than 10 hours. Rossellini required three films, which add up to exactly 5.1 hours, and his most representative humanist war masterpiece is <i>Paisà</i> (1946), which was even split into several parts for covering distinct facets of the human soul. Larisa Shepitko, wife of Elem Klimov (<i>Come and See</i> [1985]), one of the most talented women that has ever worked in the film industry, only required one film. Two hours was all she needed. The result is gigantic, scratching my equally unofficial Top 141 list (as it is currently), and holds its place in my book as the second best Soviet humanism war film after <i>Ballad of a Soldier</i> (1959). As it is my tradition to list things, the same thing shall happen here, in order for an easier dissection of the overpowering amount of themes that the film covers. What could have remained as a simple story of survival quickly escalates into a growingly complex, multilayered and thought-provoking analysis of the human condition. Wtih this ambitious intention behind, it is necessary for the two partisan protagonists to be put in different circumstances and several menacing scenarios with the purpose of removing, one by one, all layers found covering the soul with a brutal honesty. Still, one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity that God placed in our nature is that good can arise in the middle of evil. In that sense, we discover: - Love - Patriotism - Loyalty - Moral principles - Human empathy - Appreciation for life - Friendship - Brotherhood thanks to the origination, or infliction, of: - Hunger - War - Violence - Thirst - Sickness - Survival - Torture - Betrayal - Suicide attempts - A suffocating, continuous imminence of death - A guilty conscience probably meant to be cursed eternally The film feels <b>human</b>, smells <b>human</b>, looks <b>human</b>, hurts <b>human</b>, scares <b>human</b>, menaces <b>human</b>, assaults <b>human</b>... It moves the soul, awakens morality, rushes the blood and puts the right side of the brain to work. It is a ride completely unpredictable in its course, leaving in the viewer an everlasting cacophony of intertwined feelings, including psychological horror. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2010
    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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2009
    certainly a beautifully made propaganda. the christian imagery seems weirdly blatant for a soviet film. this is on mosfilm's youtube channel
    Stella D Super Reviewer

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