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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs