Mark Donskoy
UdSSR, 1944
93min, russOmeU

Bild: Nacionalnij centr Aleksandra Dovzenko Bild: Sammlung Österreichisches Filmmuseum


Mark Donskoy
UdSSR, 1944
, 93min, russOmeU

Natalija Uzhviy
Elena Tyapkina
Valentina Ivashëva
Nina Alisova
Anton Dunayskiy
Vanda Vasilevskaya
basierend auf ihrer gleichnamigen Novelle
Boris Monastyrskiy
N. Gorbenko
Lev Shvarts

Film Studio Kiev
35 mm
Print courtesy of Nacionalniy tsentr Aleksandra Dovzhenko

Among the many films of this retrospective, a very special place belongs to the few works produced not after the Second World War, but in the very thick of it. It should be no surprise that all three are Soviet productions. The Soviet Union was the only Nazi-occupied territory (albeit only partially) that was mighty enough to wage both an official war and support partisan warfare, while keeping its massive film production alive and kicking at the same time. Mark Donskoy was already an established, Stalin Award-winning artist when he created his inspirational masterpiece RADUGA, a depiction of life in a Nazi-occupied Ukrainian village that refuses to have its spirit crushed. The cruel Germans try everything to this end: they humiliate, starve, hang, torture, and shoot the civilians, but Soviet hearts and minds remain red. Amidst this sea of collective suffering, the figure of a former partisan named Olga rises. She has returned to the village to bear a child, only to endure the ultimate sacrifice. Soviet authorities used RADUGA not only to boost the domestic morale, they also instantly exported the film as a reminder of Soviet suffering. American president Franklin Roosevelt was allegedly so moved by RADUGA that he wrote Donskoy a personal letter. Different sources cite different words of American admiration; in the best version, FDR declares the following: “Soviets are fighting not only for Russian mothers and children, but also for American mothers and children.”