The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: January 28-February 3

01/28/2015 11:34 AM |

Trial On the Road - German

Trial on the Road (1971)
Directed by Aleksei Guerman
At the center of the late Russian auteur Guerman’s last film, Hard to Be a God, resides a joke. The 2013 science-fiction film’s hero travels from Earth to a cold, filthy, brutal planet called Arkanar, which is passing through its medieval period; Guerman had placed his previous films’ action among similar settings within the former Soviet Union. Guerman’s first solo directorial effort, the World War II-set Trial on the Road, was adapted by him and screenwriter Eduard Volodarsky from a novel by Guerman’s father. This propulsive film’s main character, Lazarev (played by Vladimir Zamanskiy), is a former Red Army sergeant and defector to the Nazis who switches back to fighting on the side of Soviet partisans in a snowbound battle against German troops. Like all Guerman’s films, Trial captures the feeling of running like hell, with the clear-eyed Lazarev constantly passing by slaughter of soldiers and civilians alike. It also, like them, tells a moral tale in which someone strives to follow the path he believes to have been chosen for him, no matter its dangers and mess. Aaron Cutler (Jan 31, 2:45pm; Feb 10, 6:45pm at Anthology Film Archives’s Guerman series)