White Tiger (2012 film)
|Directed by||Karen Shakhnazarov|
|Based on||Tankist, ili "Belyy tigr"|
by Ilya Boyashov
|Edited by||Irina Kozhemyakina|
White Tiger (Russian: Белый тигр, translit. Belyy tigr) is a 2012 Russian war film, directed by Karen Shakhnazarov and co-written with Aleksandr Borodyansky based on the novel Tankist, ili "Belyy tigr" (The Tank Crewman, Tanker or The White Tiger) by Russian novelist Ilya Boyashov. The film is about a badly wounded Soviet tank commander on the Eastern Front of World War II who becomes obsessed with tracking down and destroying a mysterious, invincible Nazi tank, which the Soviet troops call the "White Tiger". The Soviets design a new, more powerful T-34 tank and assign the tank commander the job of destroying the White Tiger.
After an Eastern Front tank battle in the summer of 1943, a tank driver is found alive in a disabled Soviet tank, among other wrecked vehicles. Miraculously recovering from burns over 90% of his body with no scarring, he has retrograde amnesia: he does not know who he is, but retains all his skills. He is given the name Ivan Naydyonov (from the Russian word найденный, "found") and returned to duty (because standing orders allow no exceptions). Naydёnov believes he can communicate with tanks as if they were people, though he tries not to advertise this.
In the meantime, rumors arise about a new, invincible Nazi tank that appears seemingly out of nowhere, wreaks destruction and disappears back into the forest. A captured German soldier describes it as a Tiger (P) painted completely in white. This mysterious tank is dubbed the "White Tiger" by the Soviet and German forces. Naydёnov remembers something from his past: he was injured by this tank, and the tank is dead.
In response to this threat, the Soviets build a prototype tank, an upgraded version of a T-34/85 with stronger armor, a more powerful engine, and only needing three crew members. The best of the best are chosen for the crew: Naydёnov, the commander and driver; Kryuk, the gunner; and Berdyev, the loader. Naydёnov is ordered to destroy the White Tiger. He hides his tank in a hole dug in the forest and uses another T-34 to lure the White Tiger into an ambush. The White Tiger appears, destroys the other T-34 and hits Naydyonov's tank from behind at close range, but only inflicts minor damage before inexplicably retreating back into the forest. Naydyonov's crew is puzzled on why the Tiger didn’t destroy them when it easily could’ve. The Soviets believe the Tiger sank into the swamp behind the forest, but Naydёnov is sure it is still out there.
Naydyonov believes in "The Tank God". He thinks the Tank God wants him to destroy the White Tiger. He believes this is why he can understand the tanks and why he survives his battles, he thinks that when shells are fired at him his own tank warns him of the incoming danger and he avoids it. Naydyonov becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious Nazi tank. He is convinced that the enemy tank is unmanned, a ghost of the war. Counterintelligence Major Fedotov comes to believe Naydënov and assists him. A captured German officer also reveals that he has no knowledge of this Tiger, and he remarks that the legend of the death tank is generating fear rather than hope in the German Army.
While advancing, a Soviet tank force is completely wiped out by the White Tiger, which fires faster and more accurately than any human crew would be capable of doing, destroying tanks with every single shot. When it withdraws, Naydёnov gives chase in his tank and comes upon an abandoned village. He detects and destroys a Panzer IV concealed in a barn, then comes upon the White Tiger and engages it. Kryuk hits it, disabling its turret, but while maneuvering, Naydënov's T-34's gun barrel gets some mud stuck in it. The gun misfires and the barrel explodes when Kryuk tries to finish off the enemy, allowing the White Tiger to safely retreat.
Fedotov attempts to convince his commanding general that both the White Tiger and the "born-again" Naydёnov are creations not of man, but of the war itself. The general is unconvinced and sends him on a ten-day leave.
After the Battle of Berlin and the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, Fedotov meets Naydёnov in a field and tries to convince him to go home, saying that the war is over. Naydёnov disagrees, saying that the war will not truly end until the White Tiger is destroyed. He believes it is just biding its time, healing from its wounds and waiting to strike again. Fedotov returns to his vehicle, but when he turns around, Naydёnov has vanished along with his tank.
In the final scene, Hitler is shown seated in a large room with a fireplace, talking to a shadowy stranger and defending his actions during the war. His monologue begins with an observation that he and Germany will from now on be seen as monsters, then proceeds with an insinuation that the destruction of the Jews and his attack on Russia was only a realization of what all of Europe silently wanted and were uneasy to openly admit. He finally ends with saying that war has no beginning or end and that it is the original human state.
- Aleksey Vertkov as Ivan Naydenov
- Vitali Kishchenko as Major Fedotov
- Gerasim Arkhipov as Captain Sharipov
- Aleksandr Bakhov as Kryuk
- Vitaliy Dordzhiev as Berdyev
- Dmitriy Bykovskiy-Romashov as General Smirnov
- Valeriy Grishko as Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
- Vilmar Biri as Generaladmiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg
- Klaus Gryunberg as Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen Stumpff
- Vladimir Ilin as Chief of the Hospital
- Dmitriy Kalyazin as young sailor
- Karl Krantskovski as Adolf Hitler
- Andrey Myasnikov as General
- Leonid Orlov as German POW
- Christian Redl as Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel
- Maykl Shenks
- Mariya Shashlova as Voennvrach
- List of submissions to the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Russian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "White Tiger". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 25 August 2017
- "Karen Shakhnazarov's "White Tiger"nominated for Oscar". PanArmenian. PanArmenian. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.