At the commemoration of the Great Patriotic War, President Medvedev describes the war generation of St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) as "exemplary heroes." A gray-haired old man sneers at his TV set: "I'd rather watch a blank screen than this farce." From September 1941 to January 1944, the German army had Leningrad under siege, without ever actually seizing the city. The supply routes were blocked, however, and there was mass famine that took approximately a million lives. In the harrowing 900 Days, some of the survivors look back on those terrible times. Reading excerpts from old letters and diaries, they very matter-of-factly dispel the myth created by Stalin's propaganda machine and reveal the naked truth. By way of contrast, we watch a school class visiting the Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad, where the students get to hear the official version. Archive footage of a frozen body on a busy bridge shows how degrading the situation really was. Because of the food shortages, people started eating cat meat; a woman named Lenina shows us a painting of the slaughtered cat she got as a birthday meal.
Frank van den Engel for Zeppers Film & TV
Jorinde Sorée for Zeppers Film & TV