Ashes in the Snow | Movie Review

Written By | Joshua Habtwold

Ashes in the Snow is a coming-of-age, World War II drama, directed by Marius A. Markevicius and written by Ben York Jones. This one hour and forty-minute drama, takes place in Lithuania, during World War II, where Joseph Stalin’s leadership enacted the Occupation of the Baltic States, where Soviet officers deported many individuals to Russia (fka. USSR) to become slave workers for the Soviet Union. 

Ashes in the Snow gives us a different story about World War II, in which it concentrates on the Eastern Block and how people from certain Baltic countries (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania) are transferred to certain parts of Russia, such as Siberia, where they are forced to leave their beautiful countries and constitute to being known as citizens of the USSR. This movie gives us a look on how the Soviet officers cruelly treat these people, how there is a sense of autonomy and deprivation of rights for these people, and how these people sacrifice various goals and persons in order to survive. 

There were various instances where these people live through depression and have felt like giving up. In the perspective of a viewer, most of the scenes you will analyze will be much more like how Jewish people experience when they were in the concentration camps in Germany and Poland during WWII, as well as African-American slaves during the time of the Civil War. There were moments where you would want to sit down and think about issues like these and understand why these officers were like that. 

This story is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Lina (played by Bel Powley) who has everything sorted out for her life and what her ambitions are, until she struggles to keep her life together once she and her family are sent to the Soviet camps to become slave workers for the USSR, in a quickly changing and unjust world. 

The story does have a romantic twist, where she meets a boy named Andrius (played by Jonah Hauer-King) when she is sent to one of the trains to Siberia. They sort of by being close and doing certain things, such as showing artwork to telling stories, and much more. Their communication only becomes great, at times, until Andrius disobeys the guards and gets punished for it. It is one of the most remarkable moments of the movie, where they start off as close friends turned to star-crossed lovers until one becomes distant from another. 

As the movie progresses, there is much more presumed violence and torture between the Soviet officers and the slave workers, where people try to either escape, hide certain products for needs and survival, and internal drama between Soviet officers. We see women being shot and killed in the head by officers, for stealing or not doing work. Other moments include people being ridiculed in the camp for asking certain things, and people being afraid of being killed or beaten by the officers. 

It leads up to Lena and her family being moved to another camp; the horrors and living conditions of the slave camps can really describe the atmosphere of the movie and how depression and anxiety play a role in this movie. From people’s faces being battered to the food that they eat, in order to survive, to the clothing that they wear when the arrived up until now, and the sickness and diseases that they receive from excessive work and stress really constitutes how the movie describes the Occupation of the Baltic States. It really is an emotional turmoil that will play highly in the viewer’s perspective, and it’s a recollection of how there is much-hidden detail about other countries during WWII. 

Ashes in the Snow can be quite an emotional turmoil to watch, it is a necessary one to watch in order to know about the experiences that have happened during the Occupation of the Baltic State, which was something that was never mentioned, as much during World War II. It is an emotional film that brings great knowledge, and it is something that everyone should definitely watch. It hits theaters on January 11th, 2019. 

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