By Ron Wells | May 4, 1998

…and lose your mind. This Soviet-era Russian film displays the horrors of World War II in a manner that makes “The Deer Hunter” look like “The Green Berets”. I was ready to kick some German a*s after I endured this picture. The film follows teenaged Flor (Alexei Kravchenko), an innocent rural Belarussian villager, who digs up a rifle from a dead soldier and is promptly drafted into the partisan army to fight the Nazis. This cinematic hand grenade was lobbed at the fest by Sean Penn, when the Fest asked him to select a film for the festival. Share the warmth, Spicoli.
The images of this film wouldn’t be so strong if it were shot in a typical cinematic pallette, but director Elem Klimov shot the picture like an early Wes Craven film. You feel the weight of Flor’s slide into insanity. It’s “Last Village on the Left”. The Nazis reportedly burned down over 600 villages in the Soviet Union. You get to feel what it’s like to be on the receiving end. Flor doesn’t just lose everyone he loves, he loses everyone he MEETS.

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