Set in the spring of 1917, at the height of the WWI, this film is based on the true story of the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion, formed as part of a propaganda ploy by the Russian Provisional Government in an effort to inspire the masses of war-weary soldiers to continue fighting with the same courage and composure as the womenfolk. They are led at the front line by the peasant, Maria Bochkareva, who had already served in the Army since 1914. The idea was that the presence of women warriors would shame timid soldiers into resuming their combat duties. The women prove their value. When the tired male soldiers hesitate in occupying the German trenches, the women attack without them leading the way heroically. An epic, spectacular World War I drama directed by one of the great contemporary humanist directors, Dmitriy Meskhiev (Our Own, 2004 – also part of this year’s program) and produced by Fedor Bondarchuk renowned for the WWII blockbuster, Stalingrad (2013). A huge box office hit in Russia.