The Russian Committee for Oscars chose Fyodor Bondarchuk’s action-drama film of the WWII period as the country’s contender in the Oscars’ race for best foreign-language film.
The movie entitled Stalingrad is the first Russian movie ever to be made completely in 3D and is also the first non-US film to be produced in the IMAX 3D makeup.
Getting to Know Stalingrad
The Film is a production of Non-Stop Productions and Art Pictures Studio and had cost $30 million to make. The plot is an original script written by Ilya Tilkin who studied museum archives and diaries of the participants in the Stalingrad Battle before she wrote and finished her script. Original meant there were no novelistic sources used for the entire picture’s play-script.
The movie’s story revolves around German troops trying to take down a Stalingrad (Current name is Volgograd) residential building that was doggedly held out by a band of few Russian soldiers with a sole surviving female resident.
The plot line is based on the legends surrounding the Pavlov’s House, so named as it was a fortified apartment edifice which Russian Sergeant Yakov Pavlov along with his platoon who occupied the building defended during the Battle of Stalingrad.
The Film’s Cast
The film’s cast is virtually composed of unknown greenhorns in the Russian movie industry with the exception of veteran actors Heiner Lauterbach who starred in Das Experiment and Thomas Kretschmann from the film The Pianist.
The fresh-faced relatively young actors were cast into the roles of the Russian soldiers while Lauterbach and Kretschmann played the characters of the two primary German officers in the story.
Amusingly enough, both Kretschmann, who tends to be pigeonholed in Nazi roles, and the movie’s director, Bondarchuk, who is also an actor were once involved in previous Stalingrad productions.
Scheduled Release Dates
Stalingrad will be released Russia-wide to over 1,500 screens on October 10, Thursday. However, it will enjoy limited showing in Volgograd on September 28 and in Moscow on October 2 to satisfy deadlines required for Oscar release.
The film’s producers also plan to release the movie to over 3,200 screens in China – an exceptional number for a Russian film.
For its first screening, the film, almost finished at that time, was shown to a selected audience last September 19 in St. Petersburg’s newly constructed Velikan Cinema as part of the KinoExpo film-industry trade show. The said audience was composed of exhibitors as well as other industry personalities which include A-list Russian filmmakers Alexander Sokurov of Faust, Alexie Uchitel of The Edge and Sergei Bodrov of Mongol. After the film was shown, these same individuals congratulated director Bondarchuk for a job well done.
The director together with the film’s producer Alexander Rodnyansky also thanked the the industry audience for their trust and support and had stated that the screening was held to cultivate positive word of mouth among the industry.
Stalingrad was chosen from a shortlist of Russian films which include Nikolai Lebedev’s Legend No. 17 which is a hockey biopic, Yuri Bykov’s Major, Boris Khlebnikov’s A Long and Happy Life and Renata Litvinova’s Rita’s Last Fairy Tale.
-Article based from The Hollywood Reporter