Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Girl No. 217 may well be the best effort of Russian writer/director Mikhail Romm, who usually turned out dull, unimaginative communist propaganda films. This disturbingly realistic drama concerns a Russian peasant girl named Tanya (Yelena Kuzmina) who, upon being captured by the Nazis in the early stages of WWII, is forced into slave labor. Sold to a bourgeois German family, Tanya is treated abominably, her physical and mental well-being methodically worn down by her insensitive new "owners." She is even robbed of her identity and forced to answer only to the name "No. 217." A series of subplots demonstrate the various indignities and atrocities heaped upon other Nazi POWs, but it is the plight of Tanya that lingers in the viewer's memory.
atrocity, capture, identity, Nazism, peasant, POW (Prisoner of War), slavery, war, war-atrocities