Proverka na dorogah
Trial on the Road
Proverka na dorogah
, 96min, russOmeU
Wegen seiner kritischen Darstellung des „Großen Vaterländischen Krieges“ wurde Aleksey Germans Regiedebüt fünfzehn Jahre zurückgehalten. Basierend auf einer Geschichte seines Vaters Yuriy, erzählt der Film von einem Offizier der Roten Armee, der zum Nazi-Kollaborateur wird, um schließlich zum Partisanen zu werden. Können ihm die Kameraden seine Vergangenheit verzeihen? Abgesehen von seiner psychologischen Komplexität zeugt PROVERKA NA DOROGAH auch von Germans großem Talent und erstaunt mit langen Plansequenzen, barocken Details und aufwändigen Klanglandschaften.
Aleksey German is one of the very few directors featured in this retrospective whose bodies of work have already been closely scrutinized and incorporated into the mainstream film canon. In the case of German, his stubbornness certainly helped bring about his international fame. In a career that spanned over six decades, German completed only six features, with almost every single one becoming a synonym for production troubles and controversy. His 1971 solo directorial debut PROVERKA NA DOROGAH is a case in point here, having been shelved for fifteen years for its critical depiction of the Great Patriotic War, specifically its refusal to draw clear lines between the officially designated categories of heroes and traitors. Based on a story by the director’s father Yuriy German, who experienced war first hand, PROVERKA NA DOROGAH centers on a conflicted individual (allegedly based on a real person) who morphs from a Red Army sergeant into a Nazi collaborator, and then back into a Soviet soldier, this time a partisan. Regardless of how sincere he is in his last transformation and with German clearly on his side, some of his comrades cannot forgive him. Its groundbreaking psychological complexity aside, PROVERKA NA DOROGAH also dazzles as the arrival of a major visual talent. Everything that would later become German’s acclaimed and admired trademark style is already in evidence here: impossibly long and complex plan sequences, adorned with breathtaking (black-and-white) widescreen cinematography; baroque mise-en-scène, bursting with countless details; elaborate soundscapes; and a prevailing atmosphere of doom.