Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Love story against military background

Russian film-makers have set themselves a serious task of producing a film dedicated to Russian heroes of the war of 1812 against Napoleon’s France. Director Anton Sivers’ film crew is making a film called ‘Vasilisa Kozhina’. The Russian President has announced this year to be a Russian History Year. The war against Napoleon which ended 200 years ago with Russia’s victory and the expulsion of the French troops from Russia’s territory, followed by the liberation of the European countries invaded by Napoleon, is one of the most dramatic pages of our history. The whole world knows about these historic events from Leo Tolstoy’s great novel War and Peace which has been translated into dozens of languages. The film version of this book made by outstanding director Sergey Bondarchuk in 1969 won an Oscar and was shown on film screens all over the world. However, even such a large-scale film epic could not tell of all the heroes of the war of 1812. Vasilisa Kozhina is one of those heroes and her life story is a separate episode of the war against the French invaders, which, nevertheless, explains a lot about the nature of Russian people who rose to resist the invaders. Vasilisa Kozhina was a Russian serf, the wife of a village elder in the Smolensk Region in the west of Russia. Napoleon’s troops invaded Russia through that region and later retreated over that land fleeing from the Russian army commanded by Mikhail Kutuzov. Legend has it that when the Smolensk lands were occupied in August 1812 the French killed Vasilisa Kozhina’s husband. Vasilisa, the mother of five children, decided to take her revenge on the enemy and formed a resistance detachment which mostly consisted of widows and teenagers armed with village tools, such as pitchforks, scythes and axes. They decoyed enemy soldiers into an ambush and took them prisoner, so as to pass them to the Russian troops later. However, the film ‘Vasilisa Kozhina’ is not just a reconstruction of historical events, it is a fiction film, so there are a lot of invented episodes in it, producer of the film Yuri Sapronov said in his interview with The Voice of Russia. – This film is a love story which takes place against the war background. Vasilisa is a serf and her new love is a nobleman, Ivan Rokotov. Their love has no future but true love does not even fear wars. The original film script described Vasilisa Kozhina’s love for a French officer but later the authors wrote a new plot, which is not so dramatic. As for Vasilisa’s struggle against the invaders, it is known for certain that not only Commander of the Russian army Mikhail Kutuzov but also Emperor Alexander I was aware of it. After the war she was awarded with a silver medal and 500 roubles. ...

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