The short masterpiece – a multiple winner of international film festivals – was filmed in the vicinity of our city by talented directors Yuri Maslak and Olga Tugaeva. It has been in wide release since 2020.

Facts are stubborn things. But looking at them may not always be black and white. The movie camera dispassionately captures reality. The director builds a plot from disparate shots. This is a documentary. Cinema is research. Cinema is an observation. Cinema is rethinking.

Story line

In the Don steppe, behind the floodplain of the Mius River, on a high barrow, a huge 27-meter anchor, sparkling in the sun, is visible from afar – the highest in the world. Where did he come from here, because the sea is not close? Local residents are well aware of the history of the steppe anchor. It was here, near the village of Matveev Kurgan, that the line of the Mius Front passed, which for many years was a dark, terrible and unknown page in the history of the Second World War … This is a film about the feat of Soviet sailors who died during the storming of the Mius Front in March 1942, and people keeping the memory of them.

There is no information about the Taganrog operation – neither in history books, nor in encyclopedias, nor even on Wikipedia. The few surviving participants in those events did not like to remember her either. The sacrifices were too great. And it’s not the fault of the Marines. For most of them, that fight was the first and last. But they did everything they could to bring the Great Victory closer.

In the battles for the height from March 8 to March 10, 1942, 7162 soldiers of the naval rifle brigades were killed. Of the cadet brigade of the Black Sea VVMU, only one in ten remained. Almost 6,000 more people lost other rifle units and formations.

In 1973, a monument “Anchor” was erected near Matveyev Kurgan. The obelisk was made at the Taganrog factories “Priboy” and “Red Hydropress”.

The obelisk was not installed for defeating the enemy and not for taking a specific height. This is a monument to courage and military prowess, self-sacrifice and the readiness of a soldier to give the most precious thing for his Motherland – his life.

In Taganrog, the demonstration of the film took place in the cinema “Charlie” of the shopping center “Marmalade”. After its completion, directors and screenwriters Yuri Maslak and Olga Tugaeva answered numerous questions from the audience.

“The shooting was quite easy,” says Olga Tugaeva. – Everyone who worked with us on this film and directly starred in it was imbued with a common idea and a desire to make worthy material. After all, this is the first film about those events on the Mius Front. The picture is our contribution to perpetuating the memory of the feat of the marines, as well as a tribute of gratitude to those people who still carefully preserve the memory of the feat and the tragedy that occurred on the Miussky shores. About the boys gone to immortality…

Yuri Maslak adds:

Photo by Vladimir Dorda

– Yes, there were no special problems with filming. Everyone worked great. Difficulties began later, because in the process of creating a documentary, the most difficult thing is post-production. It was necessary to find the necessary chronicle, and with this everything is more than difficult: for obvious reasons, there are practically no video materials with marines. I had to combine something, add frames from old films, from reenactment festivals. All of them are of different quality, in different colors. To understand the complexity of the task, it is enough to say that one of the best specialists in Russian cinema, Vladimir Lukoyanov, was involved in processing the chronicle.

To the question of the Taganrogskaya Pravda correspondent, how the interesting, but far from well-known song “Your fingers smell of incense” appeared in the film, Yuri Maslak answered:

– These poems by Alexander Vertinsky are dedicated to Vera Kholodnaya. They also contain such words – “The Lord Himself will lead you straight to paradise on the white staircase” … It just so happened that I am well versed in theological issues, in addition to the Bible, I know both the Koran and the Talmud. So, according to the teaching of the Holy Fathers, “a person who gave his life on the battlefield for his friends receives remission from all sins, as in holy baptism.” Here they are, these guys, and went up the white stairs straight to heaven. And if we also take into account that the anchor cross symbolizes the birth of Christ from the body of Mary … Yes, that’s right, the anchor is the oldest Christian symbol, the cross of hope! Therefore, our ghost of the deceased sailor in the finale of the film comes to Anchor under these words. Do you understand how everything is twisted here? As for the musical component … Quentin Tarantino once said this: “The film is for music, not music for the film.” I wholeheartedly agree with him and have a deep respect for music. It required a high soprano, such an angelic voice. I searched for it for a long time until I found Evgenia Smolyaninova’s entry. And the wonderful music for the film was written by the famous composer Sergei Moiseenko, who works a lot both in Europe and in America.

Dozens of people thanked the authors, expressed their admiration for the painting. Many literally shed tears. Here are just some of the impressions of the people of Taganrog about the picture – “Cheekbones are reduced, a tear has broken through, thanks to the authors”, “Wonderful film! A real war movie. There would be more of these! I hope to see new works that will delight”, “Thank you. How many times have I been fishing on the Miussky estuary, I didn’t even know about it”, “Great respect to the authors for the chosen topic. The show took place at the actual time – before the celebration of the 77th anniversary of the Great Victory!”

Photo VK “Miusskiy frontier”

– Today, well-fed, self-confident people “with good genes and clean faces”, often the descendants of those who “heroically” fought on the “Tashkent front” or hunkered down in besieged Leningrad, prove to us that there was no feat, but there was a war between two totalitarian regimes,” one of the residents of Taganrog expressed his opinion. “They don’t care that those people who survived all this and remember are still alive. Their task is to turn us from the descendants of heroic ancestors who liberated the planet from fascism, into penitent degenerates without family or tribe.

Another viewer agreed with him:

– Many people say that they surrendered Rostov, allowed the enemy to reach Stalingrad, to no avail put so many people. But you look at the elite German troops on the way to Rostov and after the fighting in it. These are no longer super fighters, these are already depressed, pathetic people. Our fighters already at the cost of their lives, with their blood, broke them. Maybe not physically, but mentally for sure. Physically, they will then be ground. And this is their huge contribution to the victory, the contribution of all those who gave them a “light” near Taganrog.

In conclusion, Yuri Maslak and Olga Tugaeva thanked the people of Taganrog for the warm welcome and promised to continue to delight the audience with new interesting creative works.

… Such deeds, such films, such projects perpetuating the memory of the events of the Great Patriotic War are very much needed today. When the last veterans leave us. When young people begin to know their history poorly, becoming the prey of hunters for other people’s souls. When the world begins to forget about the horrors of that last war, responding to new monstrous adventures. It is very important to keep the memory of your past. Keep the feat of their fathers and grandfathers. And – most importantly – do everything to be worthy of this feat!

Alexander Lapenkov