Проверка на дорогах (Trial on the Road) 1971 Ages 15+

6.00PM Wed 17 Mar 2021 (1hr 36mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

'As for [Trial on the Road], it was like this. It took a year to write a script. It took a year or even more to shoot it. It took a year to prohibit it. So, you see, it was three and a half years. And then it was prohibited forever.' - Aleksei German

Trial on the Road will screen from an archival 35mm print.

December 1942. Nazi forces occupy the Soviet Union. A roving band of Soviet partisans captures Lazarev (Vladimir Zamansky), a former Red Army sergeant now collaborating with the occupying Germans. After being apprehended, he offers to fight once more for his country, seeking penance for his treason. The partisans suspect treachery, however, and decide to put Lazarev’s loyalty to the test before they grant him absolution.

The debut solo feature of Aleksei German, Trial on the Road is an adaptation of the short story “Operation Happy New Year” written by the director’s father, Yuri German, a respected author and scriptwriter himself. The film would expand on the narrative built by Yuri and introduce the moral complexity that would eventually cause significant political controversy.

Through the character of Lazarev, Trial on the Road addressed a little-discussed topic in the Soviet Union at the time: those soldiers and citizens who fought alongside the Nazis during the occupation. By introducing this conflicted, often sympathetic character, German deliberately avoided the heroic depiction of Soviet soldiers during the war and instead picked at a historic wound by suggesting clear moral lines may not exist in the theatre of war. The reaction from the state censors was swift: the film was banned prior to release and would remain so until 1986, where it was finally screened during the increased openness of perestroika.

The film itself is a riveting war drama that plays out across wintery Russian vistas. Freed from working alongside another filmmaker after The Seventh Continent 1967, German quickly established his voice as a unique artist – using a wide array of cinematographic and sound techniques to create an atmosphere of pervasive disquiet. An important, philosophical entry in the war cinema canon.

CREDITS

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 96 MINUTES, USSR, RUSSIAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: ALEKSEI GERMAN / SCRIPT: EDUARD VOLODARSKIY / BASED ON THE SHORT STORY 'OPERATION HAPPY NEW YEAR' BY YURI GERMAN / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: B ALEKSANDROVSKY, LEV KOLGANOV, YAKOV SKLYANSKY / EDITOR: ANNA BABUSHKINA / PROD CO: LENFILM STUDIO, PERVOE TVORCHESKOE OBEDINENIE / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM & SOUND ARCHIVE, CANBERRA / RIGHTS: SEAGULL FILMS / SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM