in about 100 words or less
Soviet Union 111m, B&W
Director: Larisa Shepitko; Cast: Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Sergei Yakovlev, Lyudmila Polyakova, Anatoli Solonitsyn
The Ascent is a stunningly stark and tragic drama about determination, courage and the will to live. Sotnikov and Rybak are hungry partisan soldiers fighting in Byelorussia during WWII who leave their unit in search of food. Stoically battling the elements and German soldiers, they inadvertently implicate a woman who is living alone in a farmhouse with her young children when a German patrol finds them. The badly injured Sotnikov, refuses to give up any information, while Rybak cooperates and is promised that his life may be spared. At the execution, the fates of the men both inspire and revile the onlookers who are forced by the Nazis to witness the fate of anyone who resists their occupation (Klaus Ming April 2015).