Russia, the Civil War years… A Red Army unit is conducting a reconnaissance operation in the sands of Central Asia. The group of gruffy soldiers includes one woman, Maryutka. She is one of the unit’s best sharp-shooters, with forty killed enemy soldiers to her credit. In the course of the latest operation that Maryutka participated in, White officer Govorukha was taken prisoner. He is to become the forty first killed in her list, but so far they are stranded face to face in the expanses of sand, sky, sea and complex passions…—Amazon
Grigori Naumovich Chukhrai (Russian: Григорий Наумович Чухрай, Ukrainian: Григорiй Наумович Чухрай; 23 May 1921 – 29 October 2001) was a prominent Soviet film director and screenwriter. He is the father of director Pavel Chukhrai.
He was born in Melitopol in the Zaporizhia Oblast of Ukraine. A decorated veteran of World War II, Chukhrai’s wartime experiences profoundly affected him and the majority of his films were connected with events of the war.
At war’s end, he studied filmmaking at the Soviet State Film School and then developed his craft as a director’s assistant at the Kiev Film Studio. By the mid 1950s, he began writing and directing his own films, gaining cinematic recognition outside the Soviet Union at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival with his film Sorok pervyj (The Forty-first).
In 1959, Chukhrai co-wrote and directed his greatest work, Ballad of a Soldier. A story of love and the tragedy of war made without the usual Soviet propaganda, the film received… read more