News / Europe

'Stalingrad' Blockbuster Revives Russia's Trauma, Glory

'Stalingrad' Blockbuster Revives Russia's Trauma, Gloryi
X
November 19, 2013 8:48 PM
Seventy years have passed since the Battle of Stalingrad, the ferocious duel between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin that cost nearly 2 million casualties. And yet, this month, a new generation of Russians are flocking to see the latest film called Stalingrad. VOA's James Brooke reports from Moscow.
James Brooke
Seventy years have passed since the Battle of Stalingrad, the ferocious duel between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin that cost nearly 2 million casualties. And yet, this month, a new generation of Russians are flocking to see the latest film called Stalingrad.

Ksenia Kuznetsova, a university student, just watched the movie in a multiplex cinema in a Moscow shopping mall.

“Thankfully I was born after that period and didn't have to experience it,” she said. “But the characters in the film give you the feeling that you're living it with them.”

Released in October, Stalingrad has become Russia’s biggest selling movie since the collapse of the Soviet Union one generation ago. The film is also doing well in China. In March, it will be Russia’s entry for an Oscar for best foreign-language movie.

Bloodiest battle

The real Battle of Stalingrad was a Soviet victory - but at a huge cost. With a total of 2 million casualties on both sides, Stalingrad is considered the bloodiest battle in human history.

Film critic Sergei Lavrentiev said that Stalingrad’s box office success reflects Russia’s enduring reverence for World War II sacrifices, a respect that now is passing to a new generation.

“For the youngsters, who are the main spectators in the cinema now, it's totally unusual,” said Levrentev. “They never saw such Soviet films about war. And also, they haven't even some feeling about how bad was that war for the Russian people, for Soviet people.”

Stalingrad is Russia’s first movie shot in 3D for Imax. Oddly, the film works a love story into all the carnage.

Katya, another Moscow moviegoer liked the plot and special effects: “I really liked the movie, it was filmed and produced very well. The actors did a great job, and of course it grabs you by the heart because it reflects all of our strength and history.”

'A positive light'

Russia’s government entirely financed the film's $30-million budget - part of a Kremlin drive to make modern movies that show Russian history in a positive light.

Today, the city of Stalingrad goes by the name of Volgograd. Leveled during the war, it has been entirely rebuilt.

Dominating the new city is patriotic statue, Motherland Calls.

Standing twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, the statue was the largest in the world when unveiled by Soviet authorities in 1967.

Since the 8,000-ton monument of steel and cement was erected on clay soil, however, it has started to lean. In a strong wind, it sways.

City residents wish that after spending millions on a Hollywood-style movie, Russia’s government would invest in stabilizing the monument to Russia’s war dead in the real Stalingrad.

You May Like

Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

IS Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs