The Commissar 1967
The Commissar is one of the great films in the history of cinema as well as the victim of one of the greatest injustices against a piece of art. Banned by Russian authorities for 20 years because of its sympathetic view of women and Jews, when it was finally screened at the Berlin festival in 1988 it deservedly won the Silver Bear and was met with international acclaim.

Set in 1920 during the Russian Civil War, the film follows the story of Klavdia Vavilova (Mordyukova), a female Commissar from the Red Army who finds herself heavily pregnant in the middle of battle and seeks imposed refuge with a poor Jewish family. The patriarch of the family, the wonderfully spirited and clownish Yefim Mahazannik (played by the great actor Rolan Bykov) is initially hostile to the arrival of the commissar but his wife Maria (Raisa Nedashkovskaya), who is female comradeship incarnate, accepts the new situation promptly and welcomes the mother-to-be warm-heartedly. Besides the couple, there are several (noisy) kids and a grandmother in the house as well.

The arrival of a child into Klavdia’s life is a revelation, a taste of real life outside the death-haunted existence she leads as a comissar. But, of course, she’s doomed. There was no space for maternal feelings in the world of the Red Army and she is aware she will have to make a painful choice, both on account of her being a mother and being sheltered by a Jewish family.

Askolvov’s cinematic vision is never less than stunning, scene after scene. His clean, poetic mise-en-scene and imaginative use of montage result in truly memorable moments. The sequence when Klavdia gives birth, juxtaposed with war scenes and a flashback to the moment of conception, is dazzlingly lyrical. It has to be one of the most beautiful metaphors of motherhood ever committed to celluloid.

Director: Aleksandr Askoldov
Cast: Nonna Mordyukova, Rolan Bykov, Raisa Nedashkovskaya, Vasiliy Shukshin, Sergey Nikonenko
Country: Soviet Union
Genre: Drama, War

DVD9 + DVD5 | PAL 16:9 | 01:43:57 | 7.79 Gb + 4.27 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Russian, English, Francais
Subtitles: English, Francais, Deutsch, Espanol, Italiano, Russian

• Interview with Script Writer and Director A. Askoldov
• Interview with Actress R. Nedashkovskaya
• Nonna Mordiukova, Rolan Bykov, Raissa Nedashkovskaya - Remembering about the making of the film
• The Press, Awards, Letters, Documents about the film
• Photo album "Recognition"
• V. Grossman Biography
• Filmographies
• Photo Gallery

Download The Commissar / Komissar / Комиссар (1967) DVD9 + DVD5 RUSCICO: