Ballad of a Soldier (Chukhrai, 1959)

Ballad of a Soldier (Grigori Chukhrai, 1959)

Ballad of a Soldier is a film with very high ups but a few downs as well. First, it succeeds most greatly as a love story. The middle portion of the film features Alyosha and the girl he meets on the train as they become close, falling in love. Honestly, there are only few films that match the realness of this love. The relationship portrayed to viewers is beautiful, touching, poetically innocent and very believable. This section of the film is perfect in its presentation, both from a character and an aesthetic standpoint.

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However, with these great strengths came slight weaknesses. The beginning and the end of the film are not as good as the middle. The way the film starts, though, is almost unforgivable. The sheer ludicrousness of the events is shameful, but when you reach where Chukhrai is taking you, it has luckily become a distant memory. And I guess the end is good, but sort of a letdown after seeing the fantastic middle portion. The untraditional treatment of having the two lovers part is commendable, though the sap inside of me wanted the two to live happily ever after. I’ve seen this film twice, and really did love it both times.  9.5/10

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5 Responses to “Ballad of a Soldier (Chukhrai, 1959)”

  1. This sounds good, maybe I’ll give it a try after all.

  2. I agree that the middle is the best part, but I think that the war sequence is better than you give it credit for.

  3. Of course it’s unbelievable (though I think it was two), but I love the upside down shot when the first tank’s chasing him, and I think the whole thing is a parable for heroism and its consequences.

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