(Feature film, Russia, 2002, 120’, Color, OVFST)
War stages a Russian soldier and a couple of British actors taken hostages by a Chechen warlord. A merciless view on characters that fight against a war which drags out…
"Balabanov's War presents two interrelated wars. The first is the conflict raging between Russia and Chechnya that began in December 1994. The second war the film portrays is the independent battle fought by the mismatched buddies Ivan and John against Chechen warlord Aslan Gugaev., who is holding John's fiancée Margaret hostage and wants a ransom of two million British pounds.
By pairing two opposite characters in the lead roles—a Russian soldier, Ivan, played by Aleksei Chadov, and a wimpy British actor, John, played by Ian Kelly—Balabanov links the perception of war to national perspectives. The film portrays the Russian as inherently linked to war and the Englishman as completely unfit for it. The liberal Brit concerns himself with human rights violations, the dilemma of murder as a prerequisite for victory, and the inability to "fight" effectively via international diplomatic measures. Ivan, although new to combat innately understands war as necessarily brutal, violent, and corrupt.
Balabanov shows that the effects of the "Chechen conflict" extend far beyond Grozny and Moscow and into the proper drawing rooms of upper middle class Brits. It is not limited to military action but is also played out in the microcosmic sphere of intimate personal relationships, as well as in the macrocosmic space of global politics."
Iskusstvo kino 7