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The Ascent

German poster - (left to right) Rybak, the village headman, Sotnikov, the young girl, Demchikha
Directed by Larisa Shepitko
Written by Vasil Bykov (novel Sotnikov)
Yuri Klepikov
Larisa Shepitko
Starring Boris Plotnikov
Vladimir Gostyukhin
Sergei Yakovlev
Lyudmila Polyakova
Anatoli Solonitsyn
Music by Alfred Schnittke
Cinematography Vladimir Chukhnov
Pavel Lebeshev
Release date(s) 1976 (USSR)
22 December 1978 (US)
Running time 111 min
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

The Ascent (Russian: Восхождение, Voskhozhdeniye), is a 1976 black and white Soviet war film directed by Larisa Shepitko (wife of film director Elem Klimov) and made at Mosfilm. It was Shepitko's last film before her death in a car accident in 1979. The film won the Golden Bear award at the 1977 Berlinale (initial German release: Die Erhöhung[1]).

Contents

Plot

During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), two Soviet partisans go to a village in search of food. After taking a farm animal from the collaborationist headman (Sergei Yakovlev), they head back to their unit, but are spotted by a German patrol. Though the two men get away, Sotnikov (Boris Plotnikov) is shot in the leg. Rybak (Vladimir Gostyukhin) has to take him to the nearest shelter, the home of Demchikha (Lyudmila Polyakova), the mother of three young children. However, they are discovered and captured.

The two men and a sobbing Demchikha are taken to the German camp. Sotnikov is questioned first by the traitor Portnov (Anatoli Solonitsyn). When he refuses to answer Portnov's questions, Sotnikov is brutally tortured, but gives up no information. However, Rybak is a different story. He tells as much as he thinks the Germans already know, hoping to live so he can escape later. The headman, now suspected of supporting the partisans, and a young girl are imprisoned in the same cellar for the night.

The next morning, all are led out to be hanged. Rybak persuades Portnov and the Germans to let him join the police. The others are executed.

As he heads back to the camp with his new comrades, Rybak is vilified by the villagers. Finally realizing what he has done, he tries to hang himself with his belt in the outhouse, but the belt becomes unfastened. He ties it more securely, but cannot summon the courage to go through with it a second time.

References

See also

VHS cover

External links

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