Thursday, October 20, 2005

Renaissance Of Russian Filmmaking

"The young soldiers, unsure what they're fighting for or even where, are abandoned on a lonely plateau that is eventually overrun by a faceless enemy. After a bloody but heroic denouement, the lone survivor is left to return to a home country that is itself in crisis, where his experience will be ignored if not scorned.

This plot of myriad American movies about Vietnam is in fact the story line of a new and hugely successful Russian film about the Soviet war in Afghanistan, a 10-year military folly that ended in 1989. Russians are flocking to see "Company 9," the first blockbuster about the Soviet experience in Afghanistan and one that pulls no punches about the bitterness of defeat.

"During the Soviet Union there was no possibility to make such a film," said Fyodor Bondarchuk, the film's 38-year-old director, who served in the Soviet army from 1985 to 1987. "And for a long time Russia didn't want such a film because Russia didn't want to remember this 10 years of shame. It's an incredible success for a serious film and it shows the audience is ready to think."

Russia's film industry, crumbling just five years ago, is suddenly resurgent and a host of movies including "Company 9" are drawing Russian audiences away from Hollywood staples...."

Peter Finn "From Bitter Memories, A Russian Blockbuster" October 20, 2005.

"Mujahideen (Islamic guerrillas) stand on top of a Soviet helicopter they brought down in Afghanistan in 1979. Saudi multimillionaire Osama bin Laden helped finance training camps for the mujahideen, who fought against the Soviet Union’s military occupation of Afghanistan and were trained by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Thousands of these guerrilla fighters later joined the al-Qaeda terrorist network that bin Laden founded after the Soviets were ousted."

Photo and photo text credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images and


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