Marina Lagutina on Vesti.FM: cinema largely influenced the attitude to the Soviet soldiers-liberators
In Western movies, Soviet soldiers-liberators are often presented in a negative light, that is far from reality, the analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza, Marina Lagutina said in the National Question program on Vesti FM.
The expert emphasized that films about World War II are not just for entertainment, but a notion of our common history. “In this sense, it’s especially interesting to see how Soviet soldiers-liberators are represented in the movies. Let's start with the latest film, this year’s Oscar nominee, Jojo Rabbit by New Zealand director Taiki Waititi. He represents Soviet soldiers who entered Berlin, rude and evil. And Americans are laughing, taking pictures and do not pay any attention to the main character, a German boy. But as soon as Soviet soldiers notice him, they immediately grab the boy and take him to execution. Generally, in all scenes with our soldiers, they are taking captured or shooting them,” the expert said.
She also recalled the 2011 film by German director Achim von Borries "4 Days in May." “On the eve of Victory, 7 Soviet reconnaissance soldiers defend an orphanage in East Germany from a drunken commander of his unit who decided to get rid of witnesses of his indecent behavior. A nearby Wehrmacht detachment comes to their aid. The official slogan of the film is: “Sometimes the border is not between “our people” and “strangers,” and between good and evil." In the movie, the Soviet liberators are represented both on the side of kindness and on the evil side,” the analyst continued.
Marina Lagutina also drew attention that negatively Soviet soldiers were shown in the 2008 German film ”A Woman in Berlin”. In Berlin, occupied by Soviet troops in the spring of 1945, the main character is raped and seeks protection from the officer of the Red Army, Andrei Rybkin. All the characters in the film make ambiguous actions and choices. Although officer Rybkin is still a positive character, the film exposes Soviet soldiers in a negative light, " the expert noted.
“In a three-hour historical drama of Steven Spielberg ”Schindler's List”, the Soviet liberators are shown just for two minutes. At the very end of the film, one of the Red Army officers rides into a labor camp on horseback and announces to the rescued Jews that the war is over and they are free. Although he cannot answer all their questions at once, the desire to help is obvious, ” the expert said.
“As you can see, the farther from Victory Day, the more negative is the image of Soviet soldiers liberating Europe. But it’s interesting that directly during the war, the attitude of Hollywood to the Soviet army was completely different. In 1942, prominent American directors and actors in the “Why We Fight” series talked about the exploits of the Soviet people in the fight against fascism. In 1943, the film “Sahara” was shot, a remake of the Soviet film “Thirteen,” starring Humphrey Bogart, in which Soviet fighters cover the US ships. In 1944, Gregory Peck played a commander of the guerrilla unit, Vladimir, in the Days of Glory movie. But then the geopolitical situation has changed,” Marina Lagutina concluded.