Fighting for movie victory

One of the bloodiest war battles in history – The Battle of Stalingrad – which took the lives of up to 2 million people, has given Russian filmmakers an idea for a blockbuster.

­One of the key clashes of WWII saw the Nazis striving to gain control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. Had they won the battle unleashed between August 1942 and February 1943, the outcome of the war would have been totally different.

An epic war drama from the creator of The 9th Company and The Inhabited Island, Fyodor Bondarchuk, a director with a penchant for special effects and ambition to impress audiences, has started shooting earlier this week.

One of the producers, head of AR Films Aleksandr Rodnyansky, was quoted as saying that some scenes of the Russian blockbuster with a budget of $30 million might be filmed in 3D.

“We had big doubts about it, because 3D is perceived as an entertaining tool appropriate for adventure or fantasy films for children, whereas Stalingrad is a drama that takes place during one of the most important and tragic battles of WWII. So the question was whether 3D fitted the occasion. Having filmed several test scenes, we understood however, that 3D enables us to bring audiences closer to those events, and the effect is powerful,” Rodnyansky told RIA news agency.

The big-league producer, whose latest credits include Andrey Zvyagintsev’s drama Elena which picked up a Special Jury Prize at Cannes earlier this year, just finished shooting a Hollywood movie from the Academy Award winner, Billy Bob Thornton.

Rodnyansky believes the Stalingrad drama could be a magnet for audiences just as well.   

“It is aimed essentially at young audiences watching American films these days, but we do hope that they will be able to identify with our characters. We have a very good script that we worked on for a long time. It’s a powerful story with large-scale battle scenes, but also with some remarkable and unexpected characters. It’s a story about young people in an extreme situation,”
the producer said.

Meanwhile, a recent poll unveiled by Russia’s Movie Research Company earlier this week, on the occasion of the National Day of Russian Cinema, has shown that the most active movie-going audience segment – youngsters between 18 and 24 years of age – either do not watch Russian films at all or only happen to turn up at a Russian premiere once in a lifetime.

Should Bondarchuk’s Stalingrad succeed in catching on with audiences, young and mature, the long-running battle for bigger recognition of Russian film could be one step closer to victory.

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