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Russia, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Red Star - New Russian Cinema)

Director: Aleksey Balabanov

Set in Chechnya and England, The War is an adventure story that mixes satire, action and broad humour to expose the brutalities of war.

During the war in Chechnya, guerilla fighters take as hostages a group of rebels, that include an English actor John, his Danish fiancee, Margaret and three Russian soldiers, Ivan, Fedya and Medvedev. When a huge ransom is demanded by the desperate guerillas, John is freed to personally collect the money. However he is issued with a chilling warning - return with the money in eight weeks, or Margaret will be raped and then beheaded. As he sets off on his quest, Ivan is freed also, and the two trek back to their respective home countries in order to fulfil the demands imposed upon them. With time fading fast, and bureaucratic obstacles in their way, the safety of the imprisoned Margaret, Medvedev and Fedya seems increasingly remote.

A tense, action-adventure film that packs a punch, The War will have you on the edge of your seat. Newcomer Alexi Chadov won the Best Actor award at the 2002 Montreal Film Festival for his performance as the resourceful Ivan.

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