It’s safe to say that popular history has long been the domain of white men. Whilst we still live in a patriarchal world, things have begun to change over the past decade when it comes to re-assessing our shared histories. Despite being heavily restricted, the role of women has generally been downplayed or ignored, especially when it comes to the arena of combat. It’s likely that you haven’t heard of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, but she is regarded as one of the top military snipers of all time.
Following in her father’s footsteps, when Germany invade the USSR in 1941 student Lyudmilla Pavlichenko (Yulia Peresild) signs-up to serve her country. After showing uncanny marksmanship abilities, she is sent on a training course and eventually joins the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division. She becomes the leading sniper in the Soviet army, and after over 300 confirmed kills, she is sent to America to help drum up support for the campaign on the Eastern Front.
Battle for Sevastopol is a brilliant biopic which not only highlights the role Pavilchenko played but also the effect that the war had on those women who fought within it. It’s beautifully shot and skilfully mixes action with more tender and affecting moments. It does take a couple of minor missteps through the device of using Eleanor Roosevelt in the voice-over and a couple of power-pop montages, but Battle for Sevastopol is a fantastic war movie, told from a different perspective.
Battle for Sevastopol is released on DVD by Arrow Video on Monday 16th May.