After Stalin bit the dust the USSR and it’s cinema began to thaw. The Cranes Are Flying was one of the first successes before this film. Like The Cranes Are Flying it also looked back on WWII as a living hell, but a living hell that the Soviets stood together and defeated.
The movie begins with a woman looking down a road. We are told that she will never know the story of what happened to her son, but that we will. Now we are in the trenches with her son Alyosha. There are German tanks moving in around him. All by himself he manages to destroy two of those tanks. When his superior finds out he offers him a commendation. Alyosha says he doesn’t want that, all he wants is a chance to go home to help his mother fix their leaking roof. He figures he can get home, do it, and be back to the front lines in a few days. He is given two days to get there, two days to fix the roof, and two days to get back. Another soldier gives him two cakes of soap and tells him to give them to his family so they know he’s alive.
Thus begins Alyosha’s journey home. Along the way, Alyosha is called upon to do one good thing after another causing him to lose one day after another. It’s a definite tearjerker and I love it. I highly recommend it.