• PG
  • Aleksandr Sokurov (2007)
  • Rus / Fr (SUB)
  • 90 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

As the son of a Red Army veteran, director Aleksandr Sokurov spent his youth on military bases across the Soviet Union. He clearly draws on his own experiences in this paean to patriotism set against the backdrop of the Chechen conflict. Opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya excels as the haughty old Russian woman appalled by the conditions that her soldier grandson has to endure at a camp outside Grozny. But she also develops an empathy for the enemy after receiving the hospitality of impoverished pensioner Raisa Gichaeva during a visit to the local market. Sokurov's film has none of the politically correct but misguided romanticism of Sergei Bodrov's Prisoner of the Mountains (1996), or the macho nationalism of Alexei Balabanov's War (2002). Yet, while he celebrates the indomitability of the Motherland, he's also aware of its shortcomings and his subtle questioning of Kremlin objectives makes this disconcertingly bleached-out study of civil war stalemate both audacious and compelling.

Plot Summary

War drama. An elderly but very capable Russian woman discovers the truth about conditions on both sides of the Chechen war while visiting her grandson on an army base outside Grozny.

Cast and crew


Alexandra Nikolaevna
Galina Vishnevskaya
Vasily Shevtsov
Raisa Gichaeva


Aleksandr Sokurov

Other Information

Russian, Chechen +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
Artificial Eye
Available on DVD
Released 26 Sep 2008
Certificate PG