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Behind the Scenes of Russia's Oscar Entry 'Stalingrad,' Plus Early Reviews (TRAILER)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 11, 2013 at 11:37AM

While Russia and Hollywood both want a piece of the other's box office pie, they are more likely to come out ahead by working together on big commercial projects than emerging indie pictures. One good example is rising actor-director Fedor Bondarchuk's $30 million "Stalingrad," which is Russia's official Oscar entry this year, and the country's first film produced entirely in 3-D.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Fedor Bondachuk is hardly the first director to bring the legendary battle of Stalingrad to the screen, one of the bloodiest confrontations in World War II and a turning point in the war. Stalingrad 3D is, however, the most ambitious production to tackle the subject. The first Russian film to be entirely shot in 3D and released in the 3D IMAX format, it is a strange cross-breed between an old-fashioned WW2 epic full of genre clichés and a modern update whose meticulous historical recreation is frighteningly real.

Screen International:

At least the characters in this patriotic love-in are mostly believable, and the script does a decent job of getting us from one incendiary battle scene to the next by focusing on the human costs of war in a densely populated city. It’s a commercially clever product too, which with its video-game nods, careful avoidance of a black-and-white, goodies and baddies approach to the battle, pick n’ mix referencing of other genres from horror to kung fu to Western, and worthy modern-day Tohoku earthquake narrative frame, has been crafted to appeal to audiences outside Russia.

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Trailers, Trailers, Stalingrad

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.