Archive of films The Star / Zvezda

2002, 97 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2002

Summer 1944 at the Polish border. Lieutenant Travkin’s espionage unit is to investigate a planned German offensive. The campaign against the enemy’s rear guard leads irrevocably to its tragic outcome. Before Travkin’s “Star” darkens forever, he nevertheless manages to contact “Earth,” thus allowing the Red Army to take counter measures.


The film is based on the short story by Emmanuil G. Kazakevich from 1947 in which the author describes the work of Red Army intelligence agents on the Polish border in 1944. Kazakevich (1913-1962), the son of a Jewish teacher and journalist, was a remarkable figure in Soviet literature. He was employed in a number of jobs, he entered the war as a volunteer and, after starting out as an ordinary investigator, he became the commander of a whole investigations division. He was wounded three times, decorated on several occasions and travelled with the Red Army as far as Berlin. After demobilisation he turned to literary endeavours, writing his own works and translating others; the War was his greatest inspiration. His prose works, the most famous of which is The Star, were tolerated by the Soviet regime with a certain degree of bewilderment. They lacked the celebratory tone of officially approved novels, and described the war as a harsh and, for civilians, cruel struggle for survival. There is nothing romantic about the heroism of the characters in the Star´s tragic story, nor in the work of intelligence officers brought together under fortuitous circumstances. Thanks to the collaboration of experienced scriptwriters and a carefully chosen cast, Nikolai Lebedyev remained faithful to the author’s style, which reflects the latter’s own personal experiences.

About the director

Nikolai Lebedyev (b.1966) studied journalism at Moscow State University (1991) and screenwriting and filmology at VGIK (1993). He worked as a commentator for Moldavian TV and is the co-author of several detective novels. His interest in criminal issues is reflected in his short film Night’s Lodging. Friday(Nochleg. Pyatnitsa, 1991), in the TV series Night Life in the Big International City - Moscow (1994) and the Russian-American TV project Sesame Street (Ulitsa Sezam, 1996). He experimented with the thriller genre in his debut The Serpent´s Spring (Zmyeyinny istochnik, 1997) and in Admirer (Poklonnik, 1999). In the Star (2002) he reverently reconstructs a small episode from a great war.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Nikolai Lebedyev
Screenplay: Jevgenij Grigorjev/Yevgeny Grigoryev, Nikolaj Lebeděv/Nikolai Lebedyev, Alexandr Borodjanskij
Dir. of Photography: Jurij Něvskij/Yury Nevsky
Music: Alexej Rybnikov/Alexei Rybnikov
Editor: Eduard Jermolin/Eduard Yermolin
Producer: Karen Šachnazarov/Karen Shakhnazarov
Production: Mosfilm International
Cast: Igor Petrenko, Arťom Semakin/Artem Semakin, Alexej Panin/Alexei Panin, Alexej Kravčenko/Alexei Kravchenko, Anatolij Guščin/Anatoly Gushchin, Amadu Mamadakov, Jurij Laguta/Yury Laguta, Andrej Jegorov/Andrey Yegorov, Jekatěrina Vuličenko/Ekaterina Vulichen

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