Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Once the acknowledged king of the Polish cinema, director Alexander Ford was forced out of his native land by political pressure in 1969. His first non-Polish effort was the Danish/German The First Circle, ostensibly set in Russia but filmed in its entirety in Denmark. Based on a Solzhenitsyn novel, the film stars Gunther Malthasar as a Russian iconoclast. His outspokenness results in his being shipped to Siberia, there to die of starvation. As he awaits his doom, Malthasar takes heart in the fact that his tormentors have not been able to squelch his independent spirit. Alexander Ford chose to film The First Circle in English; so indecipherable were the various accents of the cast that the American distributor was compelled to redub the soundtrack. Despite its budget shortcomings and the fact that everyone is conversing in an unfamiliar language, The First Circle is one of Ford's best and most effective projects.
human-spirit, rebel, Russian [nationality], Siberia, starvation