We have seen many atrocity films from all groups of people, big and small, yet the slaughter of eastern Europeans, numerically and percentage wise greater than others, has not received due attention. Perhaps because the Soviet Union was allied with the west, perhaps because the Soviets kept a lid on all information denying it as they went along. When the iron curtain came down everyone was too busy getting on with their lives that the atrocities were swept under the carpet.
Now, however when Russians are making noise about claiming countries they once ruled and abused, it’s time to remind people just what exactly they did. When a Hollywood style motion picture with a name cast and top rate director came along we almost fell out of our chairs.
In the movie "The Way Back", directed by Peter Weir (Director of Master and Commander, Dead Poets Society, Witness), Ed Harris (Enemy at the Gates, The Truman Show), Colin Farrell (Miami Vice, S.W.A.T., The Recruit, In Bruges), Jim Sturgess (50 Dead Men Walking, The Other Boleyn Girl), and newcomer Polish female teen Saoirse Ronan are featured actors in a film about a group of prisoners that escape from a Siberian gulag in 1940 and then hike 4,000 miles to India and liberation.
The filming was done in India, Morocco and Bulgaria and the gulag (in this case 105 instead of Marcus Kolga's Gulag 113) was involved in (like Kolga's) cutting down trees. The group starts off with eight and finally ends with four. One went the other direction so three ended up in India.
The nationalty breakdown of the escapees was Polish, American, Russian and Latvian (no Estonians).
The film is based on the book "The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz, who was a young Polish officer when he was processed through the Soviet "legal" system (which involved interrogation, brutal beatings and poor food) and sentenced to twenty-five years hard labour for ostensibly spying. While this was going on he kept wondering why the Soviet system was going through such pains to break a young twenty-four year old cavalry lieutenant.
At this point the film is only showing at the Varsity theatre, at 55 Bloor Street West, Toronto. If it is popular enough it might go into other theatres.
The Movie "The Way Back" - From Siberia, an Estonian’s perspective (3)