The award-winning young director of this unusual wartime drama died shortly after beginning work on her next film. Voskhozhdeniye, which won the Grand Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, is Larissa Shepitko's last complete work. As the film progresses, the inner lives and states of the protagonists emerge as the compelling focus of the drama. Two partisans resisting German incursions into Byelorussia during World War II are separated from their fleeing comrades and are captured by the Germans. Along with a number of local villagers, they are sentenced to die. One of them dies with such overwhelming dignity, such grace, that no one present is unmoved, and the flame of resistance is successfully transferred to several of those who observe his death. This spiritual giant of a man also outfaces a despicable Russian schoolteacher from the area, who is an active collaborator with the Germans.
by Clarke Fountain synopsis