Three Comrades

Director: Masha Novikova
Screenwriters: Masha Novikova

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Through the remarkable and highly personal story of lifelong friends, Three Comrades depicts the downfall of the Soviet Union and the devastating impact of Chechnya's struggle for independence and protracted war upon the lives of its innocent citizens. Islam, Ramzan, and Ruslan grew up in the Chechen capital of Grozny and were always together. They loved to listen to Western rock music as a protest to the Soviet regime; they talked about movies and girls and dreamed of the future.

Then in 1994, war broke out, and their lives changed forever. Ramzan became a cameraman for local TV and tirelessly documented the war. Filmmaker Masha Novikova incorporates horrifying battle footage captured by Ramzan to portray the plight of common people, who have nothing to do with politics or affairs of state but are the war's greatest victims. With Islam as her audience's reference point, Novikova relates the life story of each of the three friends. Interviews with family members today and images of joyful moments before the war become particularly powerful when juxtaposed with harrowing scenes of misery and terror.

Buoyed by a nostalgic rock 'n' roll score, Three Comrades is a strikingly crafted cinematic mosaic—a heartrending glimpse of everyday lives shattered by the upheaval of war.

— David Courier

Screening Details


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