Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

Trial on the Road

Proverka na dorogakh

dir. Alexei Guerman

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

Skip to schedule and film credits
This based-on-fact tale of a WWII deserter who seeks to return to the trust of his fellow Russian partisans by carrying out a series of perilous missions against the Nazis was banned for fifteen years and threatened with destruction by Soviet authorities.
Banned for fifteen years and threatened with destruction by Soviet authorities, Guerman's solo directorial debut is clearly the work of a born master. Based on a true story documented by Guerman's father, Trial on the Road centres on a German soldier captured by the Russians in Nazi-controlled Byelorussia, who turns out to be a contrite defector who wants to return to the fold of the partisans. Forced to prove his loyalty to the homeland in increasingly perilous missions against the invaders, he achieves heroism in a sequence that recalls Melville's Army of Shadows in its masterful building of suspense. Accused of "de-heroizing" Soviet history with its moral complexity and multiple ambiguities, Trial on the Road became an acknowledged classic even in its enforced absence. The widescreen black-and-white photography, all wintry mist and stark landscapes, offers many indelible images, including a machine gun sizzling in the snow after overuse and a boat crammed with soldiers that fills the frame stem to stern with exhausted flesh. "Ranks with the stories of Solzhenitsyn and Isaac Babel" (Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound); "Bravura filmmaking at its best, the final sequence exhibits Guerman's command of perspective and orchestration of action" (Tony Pipolo, Artforum).