White Tiger (Belyy tigr, 2012)

Nordic/Swedish Atlantic Film DVD

Belyy Tigr

As most, if not all, russian WW2 movies this film also looks absolutely GREAT and you don't doubt for a second
that you're watching some happenings at the eastern front. The eastern front at the end of the war that is and with
the Red Army closing in on the Nazi Motherland itself. Russia, the master of WW2 movies.
Also, there has been a niche for german actors playing german soldiers in these films, often as prisoners being
questioned about the Wehrmacht plans or as in this film about the mythical german tank - the white tiger.
These german soldiers are depicted as human beings and that's one ingredience in the russian war films that make
them so superior to the Hollywood ones, the often overly patriotic trash suited for uneducated audiences.
Russian war films most often keep a refreshingly objective view on the Hell that is war, mostly, but not always.
And this unique philosophical war movie ends with some interesting words about WAR from Hitler himself.

Ivan Ivanovitj Najdjorov, the 90 per cent burns survivor

This surely is a strange or unusual war movie, and maybe because it's directed by the well known russian auteur film
maker Karen Shakhnazarov. This is the first film i've seen from him though. War movie and art movie combined.
I love films that fuck with your head, and the ending of this movie, the last 25 minutes leaves you bewildered ... but
in a delightful way. But i guess the war gaming young audience won't like it very much.

The film starts in some hell hole at the eastern front at the ending of the war, the front moving closer to Germany day
by day and with the Wehrmacht in retreat. Red Army soldiers are inspecting some burnt out tanks and dead soldiers
and in one tank they find a survivor, barely, as he got 90 per cent burns and expected to die within a couple of hours.
He miraculously survives without much damage on his skin and walks out of the hospital with "only" a case of amnesia
even though he should've been dead. He can't remember his name and he's called Najdjorov by the soldiers.
He has been hit by a powerful white german tank, a killing machine that shows up from nowhere and disappears like
a phantom, but not before taking out some 15-20 russian tanks. The Moby Dick of Tanks - The White Tiger

Najdjorov is praying to the God of Tanks and can speak with the burnt out tanks, telling him about the White Tiger.
Clearly he has got some mental problems but Stalin has ordered all men to be at the front, so he returns too.
The russians are very annoyed by the german phantom tank, and many officers are in doubt about if it really do exist

at all, and even the german prisoners when asked about it doubt its existence.
Luckily, if there's a tank or not, the White Tiger seem to be special prototype and in only one sample. The russians
decide to make a special armoured up prototype themselves and Najdjorov will be the driver of it.
His mission: To find and destroy the White Tiger with the help of his 2 man crew, a gunner and his loader.

Major Aleksey Fedotov (played by the great Vitaliy Kischenko; see pic) is overlooking the project, and he also,
to the annoyance of his superior, is drawn into the mental world of Najdjorov.
The major wonders if the white tank could be unmanned (there was usage of unmanned machine-gun vehicles even
then, operated by radio control) but the question is: Does the White Tiger really exist at all ? Is Najdjorov Dead ?

The Film starts as a somewhat regular war movie but gets more mystical and even philosophical along the way to
end in Mystery. Not as artful as Tarkovskiy but still an impressive artful twist to an already well made and great
looking WW2 film. A Tank Duel in the Birch Woods and a Mystic Piece, or ....

Captain Ahab in search for the Big White Panzer Wagon.

The slow, SLOW ending in Berlin with german civilians and war prisoners parading by the onlooking Red Army
soldiers, the eating german officers and that man in the big room talking to someone in the shadow.... Adolf Hitler
himself, the writer of the novel, a doppelganger, the Devil, an actor or the director ?
What a strange memorable ending to an unusual film. Russian film Rocks, and it's a pity so few of them can be seen
with english subtitles. The Arty ones sometimes gets a release in UK, US etc. with subs BUT the lovely popcorn
entertainment Russia makes so well, the action and the thrillers almost never.
So, the many Thai dvd releases with english subs, unknown i guess to most westerners, should be considered as
real treasures. But the last years the stream of wonderful Thai releases of russian film has ebbed out.

Anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1, russian audio 5.1 with nordic subs, 1 h 44 min
Based on the novel by Ilja Bojasjov

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