Cast: Pyotr Fyodorov, Thomas Kretschmann, Sergei Bondarchuk Jr., Mariya Smolnikova, Yana Studilina
Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Screenwriters: Ilya Tilkin, Sergei Snezhkin, Vasiliy Grossman
Composer: Angelo Badalamenti
The $30 million war drama STALINGRAD by Feodor Bondarchuk is a Sony Pictures release of a Non-Stop Production, Art Pictures Studio production in association with Twin Media, Russia 1 TV.
It premiered at Rome Film Festival (non-competition) in October 19, 2013. A massive PR campaign was launched in Russia to raise domestically $51,7 million box-office (7 million admissions) and… a bitter controversy. Russian public opinion was split.
The first-in-Russia feature released in 3D IMAX format is stuffed with stunning special effects, excellent DOP artwork by Maxim Osadchiy and breath-taking sets by production designer Sergey Ivanov. However, the film is a far cry from the great war masterpieces of the Soviet-era classics.
Lots of Russian WWII vets and younger-generation filmgoers were disappointed. The mega-battle which claimed over 1,2 million lives looks like a computer shoot-out game. Many criticize Rambo-like war actions and Hollywood soap-opera-style love stories. Others deplore overly positive depiction of the German officers and primitive Russian defenders, who in fact, were the true heroes.
Finally, as the festival film critics noted,the English subtitles on the print screened at the Rome Film Festival were often incomprehensible. Russian filmgoers also found some inconsistencies in the dialogs and messed up historical facts.
No wonder, STALINGRAD had little chances in the foreign language Oscar race.