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
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
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
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
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