Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Director Semyon Aranovich combines historical combat footage with a mix of black and white and murky color to create a fairly seamless narration about specific Soviet soldiers in the Baltics in 1944 and the women they meet and/or lose. War takes its toll on the one hand as buddies are killed in action -- demonstrated in the deliberate kamikaze dive of a damaged Russian plane into a German warship. On the other hand, personal relationships are themselves often tragic. Just after Bebolrov is wounded, he finds out his wife has a lover, just after Gavrilov joyfully meets his son, he begins to doubt the little boy is his, and just after Cherepovets starts a romantic liaison with Maria, she is killed by an act of war. Life offers no assurances, not even for a short while, and even in the face of these and other hardships, the soldiers will soon have to go into battle again. A poignant review of faces at the end of these travails reveals just how many did not survive.