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First Squad: The Moment of Truth

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First Squad: The Moment of Truth

(Fâsuto sukuwaddo / Pervyy otryad)
Sponsored by: Ubisoft

Montreal Premiere

  • Russia / Japan/ Canada2009
  • 73 min
  • Russian/german/japanese with English subtitles
WINNER: Kommersant prize, Moscow International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Fantastic Fest 2009
Official Selection, Pusan International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Locarno International Film Festival 2009


WarSci-Fi / FantasyAnimation

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Director: Yoshiharu Ashino
Screenplay: Aljosha Klimov, Misha Sprits
Cast: Sergei Aisman, Michael Beskorovainy, Elena Chebaturkina, Damir Eldarov, Olga Golovanova
Producers: Aljosha Klimov, Misha Sprits, Eiko Tanaka
Print Source: Anchor Bay



“You need the dead to fight the dead.” It is 1942 and the war has stalled along the Eastern Front. Desperate to advance, Hitler’s forces turn to the Ahnenerbe, the secret occult division of the SS, to raise the spirits of their dead ancestors to fight on their behalf. Should they succeed, it will be all-out slaughter, for how can the Russian army possibly stand against the forces of the undead? Fortunately, the Russians are not without occult resources of their own. Their 6th Division conducts its own experiments with the afterlife, and their one great hope is the gifted teenage psychic Nadya, who they must send into the underworld to recruit the spirits of her dead companions—the departed souls of the First Squad—to stand against the Nazi threat.

Loosely based on characters from a hugely popular series of Soviet-era propaganda comics, FIRST SQUAD: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH is a totally unique fusion of history and fiction. The battle sequences and secret societies are factual—both the Ahnenerbe and the Russian 6th Division are known to have existed and been active in this period—with a layer of pure speculation and fantasy added to the mix. Using mock-documentary inserts to heighten the experience, the goal is not just to entertain, but to create a believable alternate history of the Russian-German campaigns of World War II. For this first-ever Russian-produced anime feature, the Russian creators of FIRST SQUAD have worked closely with hugely acclaimed Japanese animation house Studio 4ºC (THE ANIMATRIX, GENIUS PARTY, TEKKON KINKREET) to create something truly unique. The level of detail is remarkable and the vision of war-era Russia convincing, while FIRST SQUAD also packs its speculative history with stacks of hyper-stylized action. With plans already underway for a manga series and further features, we certainly haven’t seen the last of the First Squad.

—Todd Brown

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