9th Company  poster

9th Company

Fedor Bondarchuk, the son of noted Russian filmmaker Sergei Bondarchuk, debuts as a director with the harrowing and relentless military drama 9th Company, set between 1988 and 1989 at the tail end of the U.S.S.R. Afghani war (the Soviet equivalent of Vietnam). The picture opens in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, in late 1988, when military trainees Petrovsky, Ryaba, Chugun, Stas, Pinochet, Lyutev and Vorobyev are whipped into shape at a training camp by the brutal, sadistic commander, Warrant Officer Dygalo - prior to being sent off to the front lines. After several one-by-one dalliances with the local whore, Snow White, and a cautionary lecture on the history, geography and culture of Afghanistan (which most of the men sleep through), the trainees head off to battle - first to the Bagram air base, then to the Afghani province of Khost to secure supply lines. But nothing can begin to prepare them for the brutal devastation into which they are plunged, or the relentless tide of slaughter that scatters thousands of Soviet victims in its wake.