In a freezing cold World War II winter, two Soviet partisans - Sotnikov and Rybak - head off to find food for themselves and their compatriots. They find a goat at the home of a German Headman but their return to camp is interrupted when they are arrested by a Nazi patrol. Taken prisoner, Sotnikov stands true to his beliefs and refuses to answer any questions despite physical abuse and torture. Rybak on the other hand argues that since they know nothing, they should simply tell them all that they know and do whatever they can to stay alive. One of them will live, but at a very heavy cost.
This is one of the very few films that are so overwhelming
that you are very unlikely to watch it more than once or twice in your
lifetime (other examples are Claude Lanzmann's documentary Shoah and
Come and See by the director's husband Elem Klimov - which covers much
the same unbearable territory but in a very different way).