In the bitter cold winter of 1942, two partisan guerillas hunting for food are captured by Nazi troops. Locked up in a cell with three other peasants awaiting execution - a young girl, a mother and an old man - they face the tortured choice between collaboration or martyrdom. Filmed in illuminating black and white which recalls the poetics of silent Soviet cinema, in the frozen landscapes of Belorussia, “The Ascent” offers a passionate testament to the spiritual redemption possible through struggle and faith. In exploring compassionately the nature of collaboration and betrayal and in being an explicitly Christian allegory, the film was a controversial landmark of the Soviet “new wave”. Based on a novella by Vassil Bakov the film was the penultimate work of Shepitko, one of the leading women directors of inter- national cinema in the seventies. Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin in 1977.
How to watch
In ACMI's collection
Armed Forces, Military, War & Weapons → World War, 1939-1945 - Soviet Union
Feature films → Feature films - Soviet Union
Literature → Russian literature - Film and video adaptations
Black and White
VHS; Access Print (Section 1)