Sunday, January 25, 2015
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS Download APP
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS


Legendary Porcelain Artworks for Your Home
The Gift Projects online showroom...


BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

19th Century Portraits

History of St. Petersburg Museum: Rumyantsev Mansion

The Kublitsky-Piotukh Family

Alexander Blok Apartment Museum

 

Afghan Escape Film Kandahar Pulls in Crowds

Published: February 9, 2010 (Issue # 1546)



  • The Russian crew members facing their captors soon after their arrival in Taliban-controlled Kandahar, Afghanistan.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

  • Captain Sharpatov (Alexander Baluyev) after several months in captivity.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

Kandahar, a new blockbuster that looks at an almost forgotten escape from captivity in the heart of Afghanistan, is packing in crowds at cinemas all over the country.

The film, which stars a trio of the countrys most famous actors, Vladimir Mashkov, Andrei Panin and Alexander Baluyev,is based on the true story of seven Russian Il-76 pilots who were captured by the Taliban in August 1995 while delivering arms to a Russian ally in Kabul. After spending more than a year in grim conditions in Taliban-controlledKandahar, the pilots managed to escape by flying their own plane out.

The crew, even though a Taliban jet was sent after them, avoided recapture, and upon their return, two of them were awarded Hero of Russia medals.

While several films, most famously Fyodor Bondarchuks The 9th Company, have looked at the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the film by young director Andrei Kavun is the first one to look at Russias more recent history in Afghanistan.

The films script is based on a diary written in captivity by the crews captain, Vladimir Sharpatov, played by Baluyev, and focuses on their time in captivity and on the growing tensions between the group and especially between Baluyevs character and Mashkovs. A number of changes from the real-life story were made, with five crew in the film instead of the original seven and one of the crew crying at one point something that Sharpatov is reported to have said would never have happened.

It is a film about individuality, about personalities and not about a team. Their cooperation, arguments, clashes are the main part of the dramatic conflict in Kandahar. I hope that this film will help fairness win out. In real life, there were seven, but only two became Heroes of Russia. I think that is not fair, Mashkov told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Three of the original crew could not make the premiere of the film as they had flown out to earthquake stricken Haiti to deliver humanitarian aid.

Although some have accused the $7 million movie of attempting to match Hollywood war movies with its gung ho attitude, Kavun says the film is more about society than patriotism or bravery.

I dont understand the modern meaning of the word patriotism, Kavun said in a telephone interview. All these words like patriotism and motherland have lost their meaning. My film is about the fact that it is possible to love your country, regardless of its attitude toward you.

He has previously said that you cant call a film patriotic when the main part of it is the failure of the state to rescue your heroes.

Critics have met the film with mixed reviews. Kommersant critic Lidia Maslova said that despite attempts to film a psychological drama, the film still falls into the trap of the typical thriller about terrorists and real men who can resist them.

Still, one fan is Dmitry Rogozin, a former nationalist politician and current ambassador to NATO in Brussels who tweeted, I hope the film Kandahar about pilot-heroes who dared to hijack a military transport plane right from the Taliban will be a great success, even though in a previous tweet about the film he had written, Nothing like watching Tarantino nonsense!

The films pace is down to Italian editor Gabriella Cristiani, who won an Oscar for her editing of Bernardo Bertoluccis The Last Emperor.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







Times Talk