Trial on the Road | Chicago Reader

Trial on the Road

98 minutes

This 1971 drama depicts the process through which a Nazi POW gains the trust of a high-ranking Red Army officer in gritty, emblematic increments. The story is told in romantically composed black-and-white images—it's set in snowy forests, in a countryside dotted with barracks and barns that provide only an intermittent sense of warmth—and the camera moves expressionistically, often framing the actors' emotive faces in long takes. The tone is thoughtful without being devoid of humor—the Russian officers continually tell Hitler jokes and a running gag involves one of them attempting to soak his aching feet—as the small discomforts of war are acknowledged along with the injuries and deaths. Directed by Alexei Guerman (Khroustaliov, My Car!).

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