Commissar (, translit.Komissar) is a 1967 Soviet film directed by Aleksandr Askoldov based on one of Vasily Grossman's first short stories, "In the Town of Berdychev" (В городе Бердичеве). Berdychev is centrally located in the north of Ukraine. The action takes place during the Russian Civil War (1918–22), when the Red Army, White Army, Polish and Austrian contingents were battling for territory. Of equal importance is the fact that in Berdychev, at that time, the Yiddish language was officially instated and, from 1924, it had a Ukrainian court of law conducting its affairs in Yiddish. The plot is based upon an intimate intersection of revolutionary and Jewish cultural manners and ideals. The main characters were played by two People's Artists of the USSR, Rolan Bykov and Nonna Mordyukova. It was made at Gorky Film Studio.
During the Russian Civil War (1918–1922), a female commissar of the Red Army cavalry Klavdia Vavilova (Nonna Mordyukova) finds herself pregnant. Until her child is born, she is forced to stay with the family of a poor Jewish blacksmith Yefim Magazannik (Rolan Bykov), his wife, mother-in-law, and six children. At first, both the Magazannik family and "Madame Vavilova", as they call her, are not enthusiastic about living under one roof, but soon they share their rationed food, make her civilian clothes, and help her with the delivery of her newborn son. Vavilova seemingly embraces motherhood, civilian life, and new friends.
|author||Aleksandr Askoldov Vasily Grossman|
|award||Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize|
|keywords||cavalry civil war commissar communism communist force pogrom red army russian civil war white army world war|
|productionCompany||Gorky Film Studio|