Ballad Of A Soldier (1959)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Ballada O Soldate

USSR, 1959.  Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Grigoriy Chukhray, .  Cinematography by , .  Produced by M. Chenova.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Despite a few moments that strain the effort to jerk your tears, this is a heartfelt film that packs more than a few emotional punches. A Russian World War II soldier scores a double header when he takes out two tanks in a freak act of bravery and is awarded with a decoration. Rather than accept it from his commanding officer, he insists that he would rather be given leave to go to his village and see his mother for a few days. The journey home ends up being fraught with distractions, diversions and even a few dangers, giving the soldier a close-up view of the war-scarred landscape of his nation, gradually eroding his naive existence.  Magnificently shot, with a smooth, even pace and solid performances from the entire ensemble cast.

The Criterion Collection:  #148

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Original Story and Screenplay

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition


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