The war: Witnesses' Accounts
We have put a lot of effort into finding ways of commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The solution came unexpectedly when we were debating the phenomenon of historical memory and realized the growing value of first-hand accounts of the events, of stories told by those who were at the front-line and later related their experience in films as directors, actors, scriptwriters, authors of literary or stage works. Next to them are those who lived through the war, occupation and evacuation as children when dramatic events are experienced most poignantly. The viewer will have a chance to compare this screen evidence with contemporary discussions about the historical and absolute truth and psychological authenticity. The contrast with certain modern-day memory aberrations determined our choice of the best war movies created by witnesses in the first post-war decade in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe which were directly involved in the military action and partisan warfare. Those mostly classic works might become striking discoveries and revelations for the new generation of young film fans. Alexandr Dovzhenko and Andrzej Wajda, Sergei Bondarchuk and Rezo Tchkheidze, Konrad Wolf and Binka Zhelyazkova, Kaljo Kiisk and Pyotr Todorovsky and other filmmakers whose works have been included in the program, were passionate witnesses of and often participants in the events they talk about in their films.