[s] Face-to-Face / Ochnaya stavka (Igor Khomskiy, 2008)

Ochnaya stavka is a student diploma film, a period drama set in the middle of WWII. A soviet soldier comes back from captivity, only to be apprehended by the NKVD (or whatever it was called at that moment). As it usually goes with cases like his, he is suspected of high treason, because the person he claims to be is known to be dead – although, only on paper; a clutter not uncommon for the time and the place. But there is a way to solve the situation: an ex-wife of the supposedly dead soldier lives not too far from where the prisoner was apprehended, and she can tell for sure if this is her ex-husband who has returned. So a dilemma appears before him: he can try and save himself, but that would be at the expense of the woman he probably still loves. Or he can chose not to go that road, but that is most definitely means a slow and violent death for himself.

To tell the truth, I was amazed at how powerful this film is. I mean, VGIK students are rarely able to do classic cinema this good: the acting is extremely precise, the image is beautiful and clear, every detail is tailored to fit perfectly with everything else, which implies a pretty high level of directorial skill. The story is simple, truthful, very subtle, and extremely strong at the same time. All in all, I don’t see a single weak spot here. From every quarter, it’s a great work of art.

Time: ~18m
Released in: 2008
Directed by: Igor Khomskiy
Written by: Igor Khomskiy
Performed by: Timofey Tribuntsev, Larisa Shakhvorostova, Pavel Polushkin, Aleksandr Taranzhin, Nikolay Isakov
Entertaining quality5- out of 5
Art quality:  5 out of 5

IMDB page: link

(v. 4.8)
®shoomow, 2017

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