War Films

Screenings of the Classic Soviet films to commemorate the 75th year of the end of World War II.  

When: Saturday, April 11, 2020
Time:  2pm - 4pm
Where: B'nai B'rith Parkview Apartments
            400 Hudson Ave, Albany, NY 12203
Admission: Free


The New Russia Cultural Center presents Soviet War Films screening series of Mosfilm (Moscow film production company, Russia). 


world war

May 9th, 2020 marks the 75-year anniversary of the end of World War II. This human catastrophe has affected billions of people and its residues remain to this very day. Perhaps no other country was as scarred by it as Soviet Union, where the invasion of deadly Nazi forces coincided with the horrors of Stalinism.

Here are four Soviet films that present the war as what it is-a destructive horror that challenges the very notion of humanity. The attention is drawn to films that focus on the people rather than jingoism and heroics so favored by the officialdom.

Schedule of Screenings. All films are in Russian with English Subtitles.

Ballad of a Soldier, 1959. April 11 2020

Ballad of a SoldierFilm directed by Grigori Chukhrai. While set during World War II, Ballad of a Soldier is not primarily a war film. It recounts, within the context of the turmoil of war, various kinds of love: the romantic love of a young couple, the committed love of a married couple, and a mother's love of her child, as a Red Army soldier tries to make it home during a leave, meeting several civilians on his way and falling in love. The film was produced at Mosfilm and won several awards, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best film and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The film was released in the United States in 1960 as part of a Soviet-American film exchange during a thaw in the Cold War. 

They Fought for Their Country, 1975. May 9 2020

fought for motherlandThe film based on the eponymous novel written by Mikhail Sholokhov and directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It was entered into the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. The film is the story of a Soviet platoon fighting a rearguard action during the German drive on Stalingrad. The film was selected as the Soviet entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 49th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.


Ivan's Childhood, 1962. June 6 2020

Ivan childhoodSoviet war drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Ivan's Childhood tells the story of orphaned boy Ivan, whose parents were killed by the invading German forces, and his experiences during World War II. Ivan's Childhood was one of several Soviet films of its period that looked at the human cost of war and did not glorify the war experience as did films produced before the Khrushchev Thaw. Ivan's Childhood was Tarkovsky's first feature film. It won him critical acclaim and made him internationally known. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1962 and the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1962.

The Cranes are Flying1957.  February 22 2020 at Opalka Gallery, Albany NY

cranes are flyingThe film depicts the cruelty of war and the damage suffered to the Soviet psyche as a result of World War II (known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War.) It was directed at Mosfilm by the Georgian-born Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov in 1957 and stars Aleksey Batalov and Tatiana Samoilova. The musical score by Moisei Vainberg. It was adapted by Viktor Rosov from his play. It won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the only Soviet film to win that award. 

The event included post-screening discussion.


Justin Maine. President & Co-Founder of MagicWig Productions Inc. Producer/ Director of the Emmy Award winning tv series Brewed In New York. Director/DP of countless productions for video, for Fortune 500 companies around the globe as well as film and television projects including the award-winning documentary, So Right So Smart and short films including Notifications On and Nice to Tweet You. Cinematographer on PBS docs such as The New York Capitol Fire and William Kennedy’s Prohibition Story. 

Harvey Strum. Sage College of Albany, Interdisciplinary Studies Professor Harvey Strum, Ph.D. History, Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He was member of the panel for the post-screening discussion of the documentary film "The Notorious Mr. Bout"  in 2016.

Dmitry Pirkulov. General Director and Producer of "Amkart" Studio, Moscow, Russia. As a producer worked on the featured films: "Miracle""Expiation", "The Guards""Earthly Eden" and "The Sarmatians"

Bryan Herman Recent graduate from the Ph.D. Program in History at University at Albany, focusing in Russian and Soviet history.  His dissertation was entitled “Science and Culture on the Soviet Screen: Russian and Member Republic Biographical Films during the Early Cold War, 1946-1953.”  He is currently working as a lecturer at University at Albany.

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