100 days Before The Command 1991
Sto dney do prikaza (1991)
1h 11min | Drama | February 1991 (Soviet Union)
Five young Soviet Army recruits struggle for survival against the merciless violence that surrounds them on a daily basis. Their only means of saving their dignity is by preserving the humanity and compassion they share for each other. Visually astonishing, erotically charged and emotionally jarring, this film is Hussein Erkenov’s courageous and stinging indictment of Communisum. Banned by the Soviet censors upon its initial release the film had to be smuggled out of the country to make its world wide premier at the 1995 Berlin Film Festival.
This is, and I guess, will remain, an extremely underrated film. There is no chance that those of us who are just a little bit intellectually lazy will like it. The viewer’s participation in creating (or re-creating) the plot is absolutely required, to an even higher extent than in Bertolucci’s “Besieged”. This short film consists of several disconnected vignettes from the life of the Red Army soldiers living, training, working – and let us not forget: washing themselves – on an army base. The country is deserted and the buildings are dilapidated, but everything is beautifully shot. The atmosphere is oneiric, the dreams and imaginations blend with the reality, thus resembling the works of the Master – Andrei Tarkovsky or the Disciple – Aleksander Sokurov. There is not much dialog, which leaves us on our own to interpret sometimes surrealistic happenings on the screen. As in many other soldier movies, the topic is the clash between individual’s humanity and the inherent brutality of the system. The clash is treated very delicately, there is not a single scene of the direct physical violence in the movie. Yet, we witness – or infer, for that matter – hazing and several deaths on the camp. Although not an overly gay film, it is remarkably open in its homoerotic subtexts. In contrast, the scenes with direct nudity, like those in the showers or the pool, are devoid of eroticism. They are shot in a documentaristic style, but the beautiful sacral music of Johann Sebastian Bach gives them another meaning and elevates them to unanticipated heights. The film opens with a biblical motto and it is not a chance that the story of St. George battling the dragon appears twice in the movie. Another hint to a deeper meaning of the film is that two persons of the cast are named Death and Angel… As for the acting, there will be some that will not like it, but, incredibly, all the roles are played by real-life soldiers, except for one professional actor (guess which). Watching “Sto dnei do prikaza” (and I recommend to watch it multiple times ) is a strange, difficult, but rewarding experience.
Director: Hussein Erkenov
Writers: Vladimir Kholodov, Yuri Polyakov
Stars: Vladimir Zamanskiy, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, Oleg Vasilkov
Country: Russia | Soviet Union
Release Date: February 1991 (Soviet Union)
Also Known As: 100 Days Before the Command
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4
File size : 1.04 GiB
Duration : 1 h 6 min
Overall bit rate : 2 228 kb/s