Criterion Collection: Ballad Of A Soldier

( 2 )

Overview

Visually stunning and emotionally gripping, Grigori Chukhrai's poetic masterpiece Ballad of a Soldier has been given an equally important release from the Criterion Collection. The film's brilliant black-and-white cinematography has been given an excellent digital upgrade, as has the Russian-language soundtrack. The image is consistently clear and sharp, with very little grain visible. The mono soundtrack (with optional English-language subtitles) occasionally shows its age, but it is nevertheless in excellent ...
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Overview

Visually stunning and emotionally gripping, Grigori Chukhrai's poetic masterpiece Ballad of a Soldier has been given an equally important release from the Criterion Collection. The film's brilliant black-and-white cinematography has been given an excellent digital upgrade, as has the Russian-language soundtrack. The image is consistently clear and sharp, with very little grain visible. The mono soundtrack (with optional English-language subtitles) occasionally shows its age, but it is nevertheless in excellent shape. The disc also contains some fantastic radio interviews from the New York preview screening in 1960 with director Chukhrai and stars Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko. The three separate interviews are fascinating, and occasionally heated (specifically Chukhrai's agitated manner in response to some of the questions he's being asked). The disc also contains a lengthy and worthwhile essay included in the keep-case. Although Russia's greatest cinematic antiwar testament remains Elem Klimov's devastating 1985 film Come and See, Ballad of a Soldier should be at the top of your must-see world cinema list.
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Special Features

New digital transfer, with restored image and sound; Audio interview with director/co-screenwriter Grigori Chukhrai and stars Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko, conducted after a preview screening in New York; New and improved English subtitle translation
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Made in the post-Stalin thaw in Soviet filmmaking, Ballade o Soldate is refreshingly apolitical, choosing to ascribe the humanitarian impulses of its characters to their nature rather than to an adherence to state ideals. Alyosha (Vladimir Ivashov) is a scared soldier of 19 who, as much out of self-preservation as anything, manages to disable two German tanks. The film's first extended scene of dialogue sets the pattern for a portrayal of the military for the rest of the drama; Alyosha is teased by hardened officers but treated kindly by top brass. Giving one soldier a six-day pass in the middle of the war seems an extraordinary kindness, but the film resolutely insists on the basic goodness of nearly all its characters. On his journey homeward, Alyosha initiates acts of charity and is treated generously by nearly everyone he meets. His only nemesis, a bully of a guard on a freight train, winds up getting his comeuppance from-you guessed it-a lieutenant. The scenes between Alyosha and his female traveling companion Shura (Zhanna Prokhorenko) are packed with yearning but again reflect the soldier's basic honesty, since he's led to believe that she's on her way to visit her fiancé. This is one of the least horrific war films ever made, which isn't to say that it glorifies combat or ignores suffering. It also contains one of the saddest expressions of motherly love ever spoken, when Alyosha's mother bids him farewell by crying out, "I didn't wait for your father, but I'll wait for you." Director Grigori Chukhrai, after some virtuoso camerawork in the man vs. tank sequence, settles down for some lovely compositions, with deep focus shots framed by a glorious Russian sky.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/30/2002
  • UPC: 037429167922
  • Original Release: 1960
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: Russian
  • Time: 1:28:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 38,719

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vladimir Ivashov Alyosha
Zhanna Prokhorenko Shura
Antonina Maksimova Alyosha's mother
Nikolai Kryuchkov General
Yevgeny Urbansky Invalid
Valentina Telegina
Ella Lezhdey
Lev Borisov
Marina Kremneva
Anatoly Kuznetsov Soldier Gavrilkin
Yevgeni Yevstigneyev
Vladimir Kashpur
V. Markova
Georgy Yumatov
G. Yukhtin
E. Teterin
Technical Credits
Grigori Chukhrai Director, Screenwriter
Vladimir Nikolayev Cinematographer
V. Rylach Cinematographer
Era Savelyeva Cinematographer
Michael Siv Score Composer
Valentin Yezhov Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. A Son & a Hero [3:50]
2. David & Goliath [4:20]
3. Six Days' Leave [3:10]
4. A Special Present [3:25]
5. Good Deeds [4:33]
6. Gorisov [7:26]
7. Stowaways [7:38]
8. Shura [7:18]
9. Close Call [4:29]
10. Love & Friendship [4:39]
11. Separated [2:49]
12. A Good Girl [2:58]
13. 7 Chekhov Street [6:13]
14. The Present Delivered [2:37]
15. True Love [5:33]
16. Haunted [1:56]
17. "Is That Thunder?" [5:00]
18. Sosnovka [2:31]
19. Mother & Son [2:50]
20. A Soldier [4:52]
1. Color Bars
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
   Interviews
      Play
      Index
         Introduction
         Vladimir Ivashov
         Zhanna Prokhorenko
         Grigori Chukhrai
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Simple, Beautiful and Different

    The story of the film is pretty simple, as are the events of the soldier going back to see his mother. The film does a great job at portraying Soviet life before and during the war. The love story between the soldier, his mother and newfound love are pretty cute. Like the synopsis of reads, the dirty deeds the soldier gets involved with make you think, "What?" Overall, this is one of my favorite Russian films, even though it got repetitive and moved in and out of austere scenes too quickly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews