20 Days Without War

In 1943,

after the Battle of Stalingrad, Lopatin, a Soviet Army veteran and writer, travels home to Uzbekistan discovers how even the false peace of a remote civilian village can be disturbed by the silent echoes of distant battle.

His home in Tashkent is a long way from the smoke and gunfire of the Western Front, but during his leave Major Lopatin sees another – no less emotional – war being waged there. 


The film was based on the novel and screenplay of Konstantin Simonov (1915-1979), a famous military journalist who wrote the famous poem “Wait for me” during WWII in 1941. The film was mostly shot in black and white to be visually close to wartime. Much of the ‘set’ is the real and lasting trace of these days.


Remarkable, unorthodox, and decidedly anti-heroic war cinema, met with official disapproval and censorship. In a bold stroke of casting, Yuri Nikulin, a famous comic actor and circus clown, plays the lead. A subtle, intimate, and affecting drama, Twenty Days Without War was denounced as the shame of Lenfilm and suppressed — because the people it depicts ‘could only have lost the war’.

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