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Russia, Ukraine, Finland War drama, 2005 Script: Yury Korotkov Director: Fyodor Bondarchuk Producers: Yelena Yatsura, Sergei Melkumov, Alexander Rodnyansky Co-producers: Fyodor Bondarchuk, Vladimir Oseledchik Associate producers: Dmitry Rudovsky, Viktor Glukhov, Stepan Mikhalkov, Ilkka Matila, Nikolay Shevchenko Cinematography: Maxim Osadchy Design: Grigory Pushkin Designers: Alexander Stroilo, Zhanna Pakhomova Costumes: Nadezhda Balandina, Maxim Pazilov Make-up: Dmitry Kirillov, Irina Ulyanova, Aigul Khabirova Musical director: Andrey Feofanov Composer: Dato Evgenidze Line producers: Irena Kozhema, Andrey Hvatkov Production director: Vladimir Vorkul A production of Slovo Production Company, Art Pictures, , Ukraine Media Group, 1+1, MRP Matila Rohr Productions Oy Cast: Alexei Chadov (Vorobey), Artur Smolyaninov (Lyutaev), Konstantin Kryukov (Gioconda), Ivan Kokorin (Chugun), Artem Mikhalkov (Stas), Mikhail Porechenkov (Dygalo), Fyodor Bondarchuk (Khokhol), Mikhail Evlanov (Ryabokon), Ivan Nikolaev (Grey), Soslan Fidarov (Pinochet), Dmitry Mukhamadeyev (Afanasy), Amadu Mamadakov (Kurbashy), Karen Martirosian (Ashot), Alexander Shein (Patefon), Oles Katsion (Mikhei), Marat Gudiev (Akhmet), Alexander Lykov (the Explosions Major), Alexander Bashirov ("Tomato"), Alexei Serebryakov (Captain), Irina Rakhmanova (Snow-White), Mikhail Efremov (the Demob), Alexei Kravchenko (Captain Bystrov), Stanislav Govorukhin (Training Commander), Andrei Krasko (Commander in Afghanistan).

Some viewers may see "9th Company" as Russia's "Apocalypse Now" or "Full Metal Jacket" ­ but Fyodor Bondarchuk's directorial debut stands on its own. It's Russia's first real war film. Not anti-war, not militarist - but a genuine war film. Not about the glories of Russian weapons, but about the glory of those who will fight with them down to their last bullets. Fyodor Bondarchuk makes his directing debut at the age of 38 ­ the same age at which his father, Sergei Bondarchuk, made his own classic "Destiny of a Man" back in 1959. That film caught the collective experience of a generation whose life would change forever after the night of June 22 1941. "9th Company" is a collective memorial to those young men who never reached their own maturity, perishing in the mountains of Afghanistan, in Abkhazia, in Chechnya... In training the legendary 9th Company had it drummed into their heads that they weren't individuals ­ but part of the wider body of the Soviet fighting forces. And in reality the lives of its soldiers were shared in every sense. From the shared reserve magazines of a rifle, to the body of the training camp's girl, "Snow-White". From stolen tins of meat, to the mess-tins of drink on the eve of a demob that they would never live to see. To their daily batches of firing on the enemy. Life may have been shared ­ but every death remains an individual one. Like their deaths on Heights 3234, fighting to the last to defend the convoys retreating at the end of the war. Radio connections were down ­ so they couldn't know that the war was over. The closing cry of pain from the last soldier left alive from the 9th Company rang out over the mountains of Afghanistan back in 1989. Now the world will hear it too...

ALEXEI CHADOV (VOROBYEV - VOROBEI)

Born 1981. Graduated Shchepkin Theatre Institute 2002. "Anonymous Height" (2004, dir. V. Nikiforov), "Night Watch" (2004, dir. Timur Bekmambetov), "Games of the Butterflies" (2003, dir. Andrei Proshkin), "War" (2002, dir. Alexei Balabanov)

ARTUR SMOLYANINOV (LYUTAEV - LYUTY)

Born 1983. Graduated RATI 2004. "Papa" (2004, dir. Vladimir Mashkov), "Mars" (2004, dir. Anna Melikyan), "The Suit" (2003, dir. Bakhtiar Khudoinazarov), "Who, If Not US" (1998, dir. V. Priemykhov) and others.

IVAN KOKORIN (CHUGUN)

Born 1979. Graduated Moscow Arts Theater Studio 2000. "The Suit" (2003, dir. Bakhtiar Khudoinazarov), "Star" (2002, dir. Nikolai Lebedev), "Let's Make Love" (2002, dir. Denis Yevstigneyev)

KONSTANTIN KRYUKOV (GIACONDA)

Born 1985. Graduated American Gem Institute 2001 and Moscow State Law Academy. Debut role in film.

MIKHAIL YEVLANOV (RYABA)

Born 1976. Graduated St. Petersburg Academy of Theater Art (2005, course of Grigory Kozlov). "Our Own" (2004, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Street of Broken Lamps" (TV, 2003)

ARTEM MIKHALKOV (STAS)

Born 1975. Graduated VGIK 1999. "72 Meters" (2004, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "Police District" (2003, dir. . Baranov), "The Barber of Siberia" (1998, dir. Nikita Mikhalkov)

SOSLAN FIDAROV (PINOCHET)

Born 1980. Graduated Shchukin Theater Institute 2002. "Men's Work-2" (TV, 2002, dir. Tigran Keosayan), "Time of Cruelty" (2003, dir. V. Plotkin)

AMADU MAMADAKOV (KURBASHY)

Born 1976. Graduated from the Shchepkin Institute 1997, and directing faculty RATI. "72 meters" (2004, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "Taxi Driver" (2003, dir. . Muzaleva), "Bayazet" (2003, dir. N. Stambula, . Chernykh), "Sibirochka" (2003, dir. Vladimir Grammatikov), "Moscow. Central District" (2003, dir. V. Shchegolkov), "Star" (2002, dir. Nikolai Lebedev), "Soldiers" (2004, dir. S. Arlanov) and others.

DMITRY MUKHAMADEEV (AFANASY)

Born 1973. Graduated Shchukin Theater Institute 1997. "The State Counsellor" (2005, dir. Filipp Yankovsky), "Command" (2004, dir. . Kavun, D. Chervyakov), "24 Hours" (2000, dir. lexander Atanesyan), "Demob" (2000, dir. Roman. Kachanov) and others.

MIKHAIL EFREMOV (THE DEMOB)

Born 1963. Graduated Moscow Arts Theater School 1987. From 1987 to 1991 artistic director of the "Sovremenmik-2" theater studio. Working with Moscow Arst Theater. "Mummy Don't Cry-2" (2005, dir. Maxim Pezhemsky), "The State Counsellor" (2005, dir. Filipp Yankovsky), "Russian" (2004, dir. Alexander Veledinsky), "Saboteur" (2004, dir. . Malyukov), "Police District" (2003, dir. . Baranov), "The Frenchman" (2003, dir. Vera Storozheva), "Moving" (2002, dir. Filipp Yankovsky), "The sky. The plane. The girl" (2002, dir. Vera Storozheva), "Antikiller" (2002, dir. Egor Konchalovsky), "Kamensky1" (2000, dir. Yury Moroz), "Border. A Taiga Lovestory" (2000, dir. Alexander Mitta), "Holiday" (2001, dir. I. Sukachev), "The Romanovs. The Imperial Family" (2000, dir. Gleb Panfilov), "Midlife crisis" (1997, dir. I. Sukachev), "Queen Margo" (1996, dir. . Muratov) and others.

IRINA RAKHMANOVA ("SNOW-WHITE")

Graduated Acting Faculty, International Slavic Insitute 2002. "Viola Tarakanova" (2004, dir. V. Shchegolkov), "Police District" (2003, dir. . Baranov), "Tomorrow Will Be Tomorrow" (2003, dir. . Demyanenko), "The Frenchman" (2003, dir. Vera Storozheva), "Two Drivers" (2001, dir. Alexander Kott), "Office" (2001, dir. V. Basov)

ALEXEI SEREBRYAKOV (POLITICAL OFFICER CAPTAIN)

Born 1964. Graduated GITIS 1986. "The Princess and the Pauper" (2005, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Antikiller2" (2004, dir. Egor Konchalovsky), "Penal Battalion" (2004, dir. Nikolai Dostal), "Bayazet" (2003, dir. N. Stambula, . Chernykh), "The Loafer" (2001, dir. Alexander Kvan), "Empire at Risk" (2000, dir. . Malyukov), "Bandit Petersburg. The Lawyer" (2000, dir. Vladimir Bortko), "Tests for Real Men" (1999, dir. . Razenkov), "Hammer and Sickle" (1994, dir. Sergei Livnev), "Afghan Breakdown" (1991, dir. Vladimir Bortko), "Last Escape" (1980, dir. L. Menaker), "Eternal Call" (1973, dir. V. Krasnopolsky, V. Uskov) and others.

ALEXANDER LYKOV (EXPLOSIVES MAJOR)

Born 1961. Graduated LGITMiK 1984. "The Turkish Gambit" (2004, dir. Djanik Faiziev), "Saboteur" (2004, dir. . Malyukov), "Death of the Empire" (TV, 2004, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "Police District" (2003, dir. . Baranov), "Street of Broken Lamps" (1998), "You're My One and Only" (1993, dir. Dmitry Astrakhan) and others.

ALEXANDER BASHIROV ("TOMATO")

Actor, director, founder of "Deboshir-Film" studio. Born 1955. Graduated from directing faculty VGIK 1990. "Mummy Don't Cry-2" (2005, dir. Maxim Pezhemsky), "Death of the Empire" (TV, 2005, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "Dead Man's Bluff" (2005, dir. Alexei Balabanov), "Golden Century" (2004, dir. Ilya Khotinenko), "The Mixer" (2002, dir. Alexander Shein), "Sisters" (2001, dir. Sergei Bodrov Jr.), "Mechanical Suite" (2001, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Khrustalyev, My Car!" (1998, dir. Alexei German), "Wild Pigeon" (1988, dir. Sergei Solovyev), "Assa" (1986, dir. Sergei Solovyev) and others.

ALEXEI KRAVCHENKO (CAPTAIN BYSTROV)

Born 1969. Graduated Shchukin Theater Institute 1995. "Special Forces" (2002-03, dir. . Malyukov), "Brigade" (2002, dir. . Sidorov), "Star" (2002, dir. Nikolai Lebedev), "Christmas Mystery" (2000, dir. Yu. Feting, ndrei Kravchuk), "Mama" (1997, dir. Denis Yevstigneyev), "Mu-Mu" (1996, dir. Yury Grymov), "Come and See" (1985, dir. Elem Klimov)

STANISLAV GOVORUKHIN (DRILL COMMANDER)

Actor, scenarist, director. Born 1936. Graduated from Geology Faculty Kazan University 1958, and directing faculty VGIK 1966. As a director: "Bless the Woman" (2003), "The Voroshilov Sharp-shooter" (1999), "The Russia We Have Lost" (1992), "You Can't Live Like That" (1990), "Splashes of Champagne" (1988), "Ten little Indians" (1987), "Looking for Captain Grant" (1983), "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" (1981), "Can't Change the Meeting Place" (1979, USSR State Prize), "Vertical" (1967) and others. As an actor: "Little Lord Fauntleroy» (2003, dir. I. Popov), "Women's Logic" (2002, dir. E. Urazbaev), "Sweet Friend of Years Forgotten Long Ago" (1996, dir. Sergei Samsonov), "Heads and Tails" (1995, dir. Georgy Daneliya), "Encore, Once More Encore!" (1992, dir. Petr Todorovsky), "Assa" (1988, dir. Sergei Solovyev), "Among Grey Stones" (1983, dir. Kira Muratova) and others.

ANDREI KRASKO (COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN)

Born 1957. Graduated LGITMiK 1979 (class of . Katsman). "Death of the Empire" (TV, 2005, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "72 Meters" (2004, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "Line of Fate" (2003, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Key to the Bedroom" (2003, dir. Eldar Ryazanov), "Copeck" (2002, dir. Ivan Dykhovichny), "The Oligarch" (2002, dir. Pavel Lungin), "Sisters" (2001, dir. Sergei Bodrov Jr.), "Bandit Petersburg. The Baron" (2000, dir. Vladimir Bortko), "Peculiarities of the National Hunt in Winter" (2000, dir. Alexander Rogozhkin), "National Security Agent" (1998 ­ 2001, dir. Dmitry Svetozarov), "Checkpoint" (1998, dir. Alexander Rogozhkin), "Peculiarities of the National Fishing" (1998, dir. Alexander Rogozhkin), "The American Bet" (1997, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Schizophrenia" (1997, dir. Viktor Sergeev), "Brother" (1997, dir. Alexei Balabanov), "The `Happy New Year!' Operation" (1996, dir. Alexander Rogozhkin) and others.

MIKHAIL PORECHENKOV (DYGALO)

Born 1969. Graduated LGITMiK (1996, class of V. Filshtinsky). Acting work at the "Kryukhov Canal", Lensoviet theaters. From 2003 a company member of the Moscow Arts Theater. "Lethal Force" (TV, 2005, dir. D. Iosifov), "Death of an Empire" (TV, 2005, dir. Vladimir Khotinenko), "Against the Stream" (2004, dir. . Mateshko), "Trio" (2003, dir. . Proshkin), "Peculiarities of National Politics" (2003, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Line of Fate" (2003, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Diary of a Kamikadze" (2002, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin" (2002, dir. Yevgeny Tatarsky), "Special Forces" (2002, dir. . Malyukov, V. Nikiforov), "Mechanical Suite" (2001, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Gorko!"(1998, dir. Yury Mamin), "National Security Agent" (1998-2001, dir. Dmitry Svetozarov), "The Wheel of Love" (1994, dir. Ye. Yasan) and others.

FYODOR BONDARCHUK (Khokhol)

Acting roles: "The State Counsellor" (2005, dir. Filipp Yankovsky), "Mummy don't cry-2" (2005, dir. Maxim Pezhemsky), "180 Degrees and Above" (2005, dir. Alexander Strizhenov), "Our Own" (2004, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Moving" (2002, dir. Filipp Yankovsky), "Film About Film" (2002, Valery Rubinchik), "Daun-House" (2001, dir. Roman Kachalov), "The Window" (2000, dir. D. Ivanov and A. Marmontov), "8.5 Dollars" (dir. Grigory Konstantinopolsky), "The Halt" (1998, dir. Artem Mikhalkov, Ilya Khzhanovsky), "Mid Life Crisis" (1997, dir. Garik Sukachev), "Angels of Death" (1993, dir. Yury Ozerov), "Devils" (1992, dir. Igor Talankin), "Stalingrad" (1989, dir. Yury Ozerov), "Arbiter" (1992, dir. Ivan Okhlobystin)

MAXIM OSADCHY Cinematographer

Born 1965. Graduated from VGIK 1990. Work on some hundreds of music videos and advertising works. "9th Company" (2005, dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk), "Triumph" (2001, dir. Oleg Pogodin, V. Alenikov), "The President and his Grandaughter" (2000, dir. Tigran Keosayan), "Unknown Weapons, or Crusader-2" (1998, dir. Ivan Dykhovichny), "Alisa and the Bookseller" (1992, dir. A. Rudakov), Sex Story (1991, dir. Elena Nikolayeva)

FYODOR BONDARCHUK Director.

Born 1967. Graduated from the directing faculty of VGIK in 1991. Set up "Art Pictures Group" in 1991 with Stepan Mikhalkov. Television presenter, and director of many music video and advertising works. As director: "A Midsummer Morning's Dream" (short, 1987), "I Love" (1993).

YELENA YATSURA Producer

Graduated from the theater criticism faculty of RATI (GITIS); course in psychoanalysis and theater discipline at Trinity College, Dublin.

AS PRODUCER: "9 Months" (in production, dir. R. Gigineishvili), "The Interpreter" (in production, dir. E. Khazanova), "9th Company" (2005, dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk), "Goddess: How I fell in love" (2004, dir. Renata Litvinova), "Our Own" (2004, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev, Moscow International Film Festival Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor prizes), "4" (2004, dir. Ilya Khrzhanovsky), "Honey Baby" (2004, dir. Mika Kaurismaki), "The Last Train" (2003, dir. Alexei German Jr., "Kinoshok" festival prize for Best Director, Best Feature Film Salonika, Best Feature Film Stalker Human Rights Festival), "Gololed" (2002, dir. Mikhail Brashinsky, "Bronze Taiga" prize KhantiMansiisk festival, Best Actor at "Deboshir" festival, St. Petersburg), "The sky. The plane. The girl" (2002, dir. Vera Storozheva, particpant in 59th Venice festival "New Horizons" program, Best Actress "Literature and Film" festival, Audience Choice prize "Window onto Europe" festival), "Moving" (2002, dir. Filipp Yankovsky, Best Debut "Window onto Europe" festival, Nika award for cinematography and "Revelation of the Year", "Golden Eagle" award for best editing), "Diary of a Kamikadze" (2002, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev, "Sozvezdie" Best Episode Actress award, "Golden Eagle" Best Supporting Actor), "Marriage by Reckoning" ("Russian Decameron" project) (2001, dir. Yury Pavlov).

AS ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: "April" (2001, dir. Konstantin Murzenko, "Window onto Europe" festival best music award). AS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: "Tests for Real Men" ("Russian Decameron" project) (2000, dir. . Razenkov), "Women's Property ("Russian Decameron" project) (2000, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "The Governor. Love Russian Style-3" (1999, dir. Yevgeny Matveev). AS CREATIVE PRODUCER: "The American Bet" (1998, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Love Russian Style-2" (1997, dir. Yevgeny Matveev), "National Film" actions (1995-1996).

SERGEI MELKUMOV Producer

Born 1962. Graduated Baku Polytechnic Institute 1983. Producer of a number of films and television serials, including the very popular "Lethal Force" and "Saboteur".

ALEXANDER RODNYANSKY Producer

Director General CTC television channel. Honored Cultural Figure of Ukraine. Born 1961. Graduated from the directing faculty of Kiev's Institue of Theater Arts. From 1983 to 1990 worked at Kievnauchfilm studio.

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY CHIEF PRODUCER of "Lethal Force-4"(2002), "Lethal Force-5" (2003), "Lethal Force-6"(2004-2005), "Saboteur" (2004, dir. . Malyukov), "Brezhnev" (2005, dir. Sergei Snezhkin). AS PRODUCER: "9th Company", (2005, dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk), "Our Own" (2004, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev, awards at Moscow International Film Festival, Cottbus, Marrakech, Cinequest. "Golden Eagle" Best Script to Valentin Chernykh, Best Cinematography to Sergei Machilsky, Best Actor to Sergei Garmash. "White Square" prize for Best Cinematography. "Nika" awards for Best Feature, Best Sound Editing to Konstantin Zarin, Best Script to Valentin Chernykh, Best Cinematography to Sergei Machilsky, Best Actor to Bogdan Stupka), "Goddess" (2004, dir. Renata Litvinova, Best Actress Weisbaden), "Wonderful Valley" (2004, dir. Rano Kubaeva), "Honey Baby" (2003, dir. Mika Kaurismaki), "Moving" (2002, dir. Filipp Yankovsky), "Diary of a Kamikadze" (2002, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Film About Film" (2002, dir. Valery Rubinchik), "April" (2001, dir. Konstantin Murzenko), "Marriage by Reckoning" (2001, dir. Yury Pavlov), "Dikarka" (2001, dir. Yury Pavlov), "Women's Property" (2000, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "Tests for Real Men" (2000, dir. . Razenkov), "The American Bet" (1998, dir. Dmitry Meskhiev), "The Lovers Die" (1999, dir. I. Vasilyeva), "The Governor. Love Russian Style-3" (1999, dir. Yevgeny Matveev), "Love Russian Style-2" (1997, dir. Yevgeny Matveev) and others.

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY: AS DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR: "On Evenings After Completion" (1987, first prize Molodist festival Kiev), "Exhausted Towns" (1988, Ukraine state prize, Best Documentary USSR Filmmakers' Union), "The Mission of Raul Wallenberg" (1990, "Nika" award for best documentary, nominated for the "Felix" European Film Academy award), "Meeting with My Father" (1990, "Nika" award), "Farewell, USSR. Part 1" (1992, Grand Prix Duisberg, special jury prize Nion festival), "The March of the Living" (1993, "Golden Centaur" St. Petersburg international film festival, special prize Ekaterinburg festival), "Farewell, USSR. Part 2" (1994, "Nika" award, Silver Dove at Leipzig festival). FEATURE FILM WORK: As producer: "Jospehina the Singer and the Mouse People" (1994, dir. Sergei Masloboishchikov, main prizes at Cairo, Kiev, Gatchina). As coproducer: "First Love" (1995, dir. Roman Balayan), "1001 Recipes of a Cook in Love" (1996, dir. Nana Dzhordzhadze, FIPRESCI and special jury prize Karlovy Vary, nomination for Best Foreign Film Oscar), "Two Moons, Three Suns" (1998, dir. Roman Balayan), "East-West" (1999, dir. Regis Wargnier, nomination for Best Foreign Film Oscar), "9th Company" (2005, dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk). AS TELEVISION PRODUCER: "Bourgeois Birthday" (1998, dir. . Mateshko), "Bourgeois Birthday-2" (2001, dir. . Mateshko), "Critical State" (2002, dir. . Mateshko) and others.

"9th Company" ­ FACTS AND FIGURES

Film's budget - $9 million. Its most expensive scene was the explosion of the airplane, shot over 17 days and costing $450,000. Shooting lasted over 150 days, with 111 days in Moscow and Crimea, running from 25 May through to 12 October 2004. 18 locations in Crimea, Uzbekistan and Moscow. In Crimea: the Angarsk Pass, Chatyr-Dag, Eski-Kermen, SakiNovofedorovka, Beketovo, the Rou Rocks, Kuchuk-Yanyshar-South, BiyukYanyshar, Agarmysh, Balaklava, the Chauda Cape. In Uzbekistan: Charvak, Brichmulla, the Great Chimgan, Chirchinsk airbase, Chatla. Producer Yelena Yatsura put in 480 flying hours in the course of the project. During Ukraine shooting, the crew travelled around 10,000 kilometers on the roads of Crimea.

MILITARY SCENES

As many as 1,500 troops from all departments of the Ukrainian army, fleet and airforce took part in the location shooting in Crimea. The range of technical equipment was equally huge ­ from 30 T-64-B tanks, to 10 MI24 and 10 MI-8 helicopters, and 22 AN and MIG fighter planes. The film's designers had to repaint all the Ukrainian equipment and training locations from their existing colors to a desert khaki. They bought up almost all the acrylic paint to be found in Simferopol ­ in total, around 1,000 kilos: after shooting was completed, everything had to be repainted in its original form. As well, they had to recreate around 50 different types of Soviet posters. Helicopter scenes shot in Beketovo brought their own problems. The helicopters were due to fly in from the direction of Foros, where an official meeting was taking place between the presidents of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. The security details attached to Leonid Kuchma and Nursultan Nazarbaev saw the helicopters, complete with their red Soviet markings, flying in low over the residence where the meeting was taking place. The story has it that if Russian president Vladimir Putin had not already left the summit, it could have been uncertain how his security officers might have reacted ­ and how the filming might have ended up. Director Fyodor Bondarchuk received a dressing-down the following day ­ but all his permission documents were in order, and shooting continued.

THE CREW

The crew numbered 150 people, with up to 2,000 taking part in major crowd scenes. Over the shooting period, the crew consumed 25,000 liters of tea and coffee, and 13,500 kilos of food. The Afghan characters were costumed in original Afghan dress. The 300 costumes concerned were acquired in Afghanistan. Four support trucks carried props for shooting in Crimea. A props assistant found a puppy in Simferopol. Named Mina, it became a favorite of the crew and played its own role in the film. Now the puppy's grown up, lives in Moscow, and is preparing for her second screen role ­ in a film by Alla Surikova. The scene with the Afghan ("Going for Matches") Was shot with an ass, who had already played in "Kidnapping Caucassian style"(L. Gaidai). The crew found her in Yalta's zoo, where they had gone looking for an animal which wouldn't be afraid of cameras, or the noise of explosions. "You couldn't find a better one," said her trainer. "She debuted in "Prisoner of the Mountains", now she's experienced. You won't regret it." The crew didn't ­ the animal wasn't afraid of anything, and got through the scene with distinction.

During helicopter shooting in the Starokrymsky quarry, two MI-24 helicopters were turning over the mountains for another take, when they almost collided with a hang-glider. Fyodor Bondarchuk sent out crew all around the area to find out from where the hang-glider had launched ­ but with no results. But its pilot would go on boasting for ages how he had come to participate in the shooting of "9th Company". The most complex scene was the explosion of the Afghan village. It had been built over four months by specialists from the Yalta film studio ­ out of clay, to achieve an original style - and occupied two hectares. While still in construction it received its own groups of visitors ­ tourists from the nearby resort of Koktebel. The day for which the explosion was planned ­ with a total of nine tons of explosives and seven kilometers of lead wires ­ turned out to be overcast, and the action needed to be held over. Overnight it was kept under high security guard. The next day, a special crew member was sent up into the hills to brief on the state of the weather ­ when the clouds might clear for a moment ­ and the explosion went ahead, sending the village set, created with such dedicated care, up into the sky.

During construction of the Afghan village at the Starokrymsky quarry, the trace of a war mine was turned up at the site. Attempts to call in sappers proved fruitless, so the commander of the Ukrainian marines who was responsible for the location took the initiative to explode it himself. But nothing happened ­ the mine itself, left over from World War II, had long decayed. The main final conflict was shot at Kuchuk-Yanyshar, with 42 lorry loads of stone and rubble brought in from the Starokrymsky quarry. The pyrotechnical effect of dust was created by using peat and cement, brought in in three-ton blocks and specially put in place by cranes. During the "Attacking the Position" scenes, a fire broke out on set, which was spreading so fast that the crew had to call in fire fighters. When they turned up, their response was: "The whole of Crimea already knows that "9th Company" has a fire."

POST-PRODUCTION

COLOUR CORRECTION In total, around 70,000 meters of film were shot during filming. Cinematographer Maxim Osadchy, together with colour corrector Bozhedarka Maslennikova, put more than 500 hours into the process to get the exact hues that had been planned for in shooting. The result gave the Afghan scenes more of a sepia, red-brown style, while training camp scenes came across as colder, and with stronger hints of green. SOUND Sound director Kirill Vasilenko went on a dedicated trip to Ukraine for sound effects, recording around 20 hours of special sound material, including shooting, airplanes, helicopters, tanks, barrack effects, as well as all sorts of explosives. Various groups of sound engineers worked during the edit, with three engineers in Moscow concentrating on atmospheric sound and dialogues, and all special sound effects created in St. Petersburg, with special work on richochets completed in Australia. Overall control on sound and image material was run from London, via the Internet. Atmosphere sound material used 150 tracks, dialogue 120 tracks, and special sound effects 160 tracks. "9th Company" is the first Russian film in many years ­ and the second ever ­ which used the sound facilities of Britain's Pinewood Shepperton Studios. The first was Sergei Bondarchuk's "Waterloo" from 1970. Among Pinewood's other works are the James Bond films, Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down", and Tim Barton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (www.pinewoodshepperton.com, www.reelsound.com). "Pinewood isn't just the best studio in Europe ­ it's the best in the world," said Fyodor Bondarchuk.

FYODOR BONDARCHUK ON "9TH COMPANY"

"I wanted to shoot a major, large-scale film, and one about war, and, lastly, one which concerned my own generation. It begins in 1987 and ends in 1989, with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Its heroes are my contemporaries. When the first Chechen war began, the whole world was talking about how conscript soldiers, fresh out of school, shouldn't be deployed in it. And no one remembered how our government had for ten years sent just such kids to Afghanistan, an absolutely alien country. They were lads whose views on life just weren't fully formed, so answering the question ­ "What am I doing here, now with a weapon in my hand?" ­ proved very complicated. I wasn't interested in the political associations, but in the soldiers' motivations. As it later became clear, they had to ask themselves all the questions best known from Russian literature, from Raskolnikov through to Bolkonsky. Am I am frightened beast, or is right behind me? Who am I? Can I accomplish a mission for which I wasn't born ­ I didn't come into this world to leave it as a hero? The film isn't about how the country lost the war, it's about how those lads won their own internal battle. It goes on in all men. Each one of them has to decide for himself ­ what is love, what is treachery, comradeship, and heroism."

THE AFGHANISTAN WAR historical details

The war in Afghanistan lasted from 1979 to 1989 ­ nine years, one month and 19 days. On the basis of a Soviet-Afghan agreement of 1978, Soviet troops entered the country on December 25 1979 on three flanks ­ Kushka-ShindandKandahar, Termez-Kunduz-Kabul, and Khorog-Faizabad, using the aerodromes of Kabul, Bagram and Kandahar. The official reason for the deployment was the prevention of threatened foreign military involvement, but very soon the limited Soviet contingent was caught up in the country's rapidly developing civil war. On December 27 Soviet forces stormed the presidential place in Kabul, killing President Amin in the process. The "Parcham" faction, headed by Babrak Karmal, came to power. Between December 25 1979 and February 15 1989, 620,000 Soviet troops served in Afghanistan, including 525,200 from the Soviet army (including 62,900 officers), with 90,000 drawn from border guards and other detachments of the KGB, and 5,000 from other Defence Ministry structures. Overall casualties from all causes among Soviet forces amounted to 15,051. Over the period 417 soldiers were reported as missing in action and taken prisoner, of whom during the course of the war, and its aftermath, 130 were freed and returned to their homeland.

THE TRUE STORY OF THE 9TH COMPANY

According to Colonel Valery Vostrotin, commander of the 345th Parachute Bridgade, Hero of the Soviet Union: The story of the 9th Company is unique. It was one of the first detachments to enter Afghanistan.At that time I was in command of it. Before the deployment, the regimental commander instructed me to form the company, choosing from anyone from any of our groups. I went through the battalions, inviting them to serve in Afghanistan. At that time it looked like it would be a light expedition excursion, and there were more volunteers than needed. I selected maybe not the most disciplined, but certainly the most prepared soliders ­ the best gunners, the best drivers and mechanics, the best machine-gunners and snipers. Two months later, and it was clear that the 9th Company was the best prepared of our detachments. It became clear during the storming of Amin's presidential palace, a renowned special forces operation which the Company carried out with distinction. Right up until the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the 9th Company was always sent to the most dangerous locations. Later, when I was already commanding the regiment, I still had the same relation ot the 9th Company. I gave it the most complex, sometimes almost impossible missions. At the end of 1987, during the "Magistral" operation close to the Pakistan border, the 9th Company were right in the thick of it. It was securing the safe passage of transport columns to the Khost province, from the most distant position, the furthest heights which later received the name "3234". The main problem was the remoteness of the company from the main, and back-up, forces, with chances to assist limited to artillery and air attacks. The main battle for Heights 3234 began on January 7 1988 in the most brutal fashion. The enemy were stoned, not even reacting to major artillery action... The battle lasted for two and a half days. But getting any assistance to my favorite company proved very difficult. Some forces went to their aid, but unfortunately the intensity of the fighting, and the mountain landscape prevented reserve forces arriving in time. Nevertheless, they accomplished their mission, and kept the heights, repelling a total of 12 attacks. Six out of 39 soldiers died, with 12 injured. Two, Vyacheslav Alexandrov and Andrei Melnikov, were honored as Heroes of the Soviet Union. Posthumously. (from "Esquire")

PRESS

"Kommersant". 22.09.05 Mikhail Trofimenkov "9th Company" is the first "normal" war film in the history of Russian cinema. "Gazeta". 28.09.05 Anton Dolin "9th Company" wasn't artifically created, but simply born to be a box office hit. Fyodor Bondarchuk is a "war artist", the son of a "war artist". So for the first time in Russian cinema of the post-perestroika era, he has created a film which, for its production scale, can be compared with the work of his father. No single one of the young actors could have taken on a dominant role in such a gigantic work, but the depiction of their "group portrait" is simply excellent ­ including both the better known Alexei Chadov, Artur Smolyaninov and Mikhail Evlanov, as well as the less well known Ivan Kokorin, Soslan Fidarov and Konstantin Kryukov. They all play their roles with a distinction that recalls Oliver Stone's "Platoon". "9th Company" may be painted in thick, rough strokes, but the result is a canvas which is both expressive, and of artistic value.

"Vedomosti". 27.09.05 Alexander Strelkov This is the most worthy depiction of the Afghan war that Russia has seen to date. "9th Company" is a film not of intrigues, but of episodes. Not of ideas, but of style. For Fyodor Bondarchuk it's more important to be convincing in the details than original in subject. The military equipment, props, costumes, a specially constructed Afghan village, everyday army life, the Afghans, the characters, their speech, the sound, and last but not least, the dust ­ all looks authentic. For a war film, that's already half way to success. "Moskovsky Komsomolets". 13.10.05 Elina Nikolaeva There can be no doubt that Russia is going through a "cinema revolution". After a long time almost in hibernation, the onetime "film superpower" has again started making large-scale films.

"Rossiskaya Gazeta". 01.10.05 Valery Kichin This film is a great achievement ­ it's been a long time since we saw on screen so full and human a result. It confirms not only the renaissance of Russian cinema, but its recovery from both any complex of being second rate, and from any smug instinct to celebrate its own special achievements. "Vremya Novostei". 26.09.05 Stas Rostotsky Fyodor Bondarchuk's film will take a deserved place in Russia's contemporary film landscape. "Literaturnaya Gazeta". 12.10.05 Zhanna Vasilyeva The intentional minimalism of the mission it set itself demanded a maximum of artistic effort (and not only financial investment from its producers). But from the scenarist, from the brilliant group of actors, from its designers and cinematographer...

"Moskovskaya Pravda". 06.10.05 Elena Kurbanova Fyodor Bondarchuk's debut as a director, "9th Company" is Russia's first real war film. Not anti-war, and not militarist - but a genuine war film. Not about the glories of Russian weapons, but about the glory of those who will fight with them down to their last bullets. "Komsomolskaya Pravda". 06.10.05 No one in Russia for 20 years has shot a film like this. "9th Company" is a film for viewers ­ not for festivals or critics, but for those people who buy their tickets to the cinema every Saturday night. A real show, indeed. "Zhizn". 06.10.05. Boris Svetlov There were expectations of almost anything, but mostly of what Bondarchuk has excelled in so far to date: another work in the style of advertising, even if stretched out to feature length. Instead, unexpectedly, Bondarchuk has created a work which is almost a masterpiece, showing that nature does not always take a generation out with the children of great parents. He dedicated his film to his father, the great director Sergei Bondarchuk. And shot it no less well than his father might have done.

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