Saving Leningrad is a Russian war film about a part of history that is not known to many Westerners. It tells the harrowing tale of peasants trying to survive when their city of Leningrad is besieged during WWII. Those who are lucky – or maybe not so lucky – make it into a barge at sea in a desperate attempt to survive. The only problem is that severe weather damages their vessel and then the ship starts to sink. All seems lost and matters really turn bad when German planes attack them when they are at their most vulnerable.
The tragedy took place on the night of September 16-17, 1941 at Lake Ladoga. During the evacuation of people from Leningrad, their barge was bombed by Nazi warplanes and went to the bottom, killing more than1,000 people. At the same time, 460 people were killed in a barge towed by the gunship, “Selemdzha”, which was carrying fuel and military supplies to Leningrad.
The story is based on the real events surrounding the evacuation of people from Leningrad across Lake Ladoga. By a twist of fate, a young couple, cadet-gunner Kostya Gorelov and his girlfriend Nastya Tkachyova, are on board. The barge is badly damaged, but Nikolai Gorelov, Kostya’s father, nevertheless orders to embark over 1,000 people, among them his son.
Saving Leningrad is directed by Aleksey Kozlov who co-wrote the screenplay. Producer Arkady Fateev says the film is personal to him: “This project is very important and personal to me because of my grandfathers, who fought in WWII and participated in battles which led to saving the great city of Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, in 1944. Our film was released in Russia and CIS (Commonwealth of formerly Soviet republics) on January 27, 2019 – on the 75th anniversary of the Leningrad blockade. The film is not only about war, but also about love and hope!”
This is a story of survival. Andrey Mironov-Udalov as Kostya is clearly a young man in love but he is also a soldier. He is considered a lady’s man, and no one is really sure if the new girl is serious. Saving Leningrad is a story of a young couple in love, parents and their children, soldiers, enemies, and war.