The first series left some hope for the best. The authors successfully picked up Sergei Strelnikov for the role of the protagonist. They were attracted by their intention to show us a more human Chapaya, subject to all earthly passions. Unfortunately, the film was left far behind the classic Soviet film incarnation of Chapay.
In the film, Shcherbina and the young Volodarsky Chapaev is a carpenter who builds churches, and then, during the Civil War, he strongly opposes their destruction and reproaches the communists and commissars for atheism. Perhaps the idea of making Chapaev the builder of churches was suggested by a fact from the biography of another hero, or rather, the antihero of the Civil War - the Siberian "red partisan" of the Bolshevik Grigory Rogov. He, like Chapaev, was sergeant-major of the tsarist army, and being a bricklayer by peaceful profession, built churches, but unlike the cinematic Chapaev, he willingly destroyed churches, but he didn’t touch those he built. Rogov became famous for his incredible cruelty.
The real, and not the mythological, Chapaev was not so much inferior in this to Rogov. Contrary to what is shown in the series, in the first months of his service with red, he fought not with the Ural Cossacks, but with rebels against the surplus of Volga peasants. In particular, in March, 1918, a detachment of Chapayev from 600, a man was sent to Khvalynsk in the Saratov province from Nikolaevsk (Pugachev) to suppress peasant unrest.
In the future, the excesses and looting of Chapayev alarmed the higher authorities, who feared that Chapaev’s excessive cruelty would repel the peasant masses from the Bolsheviks. In the Cossack regions, Chapaevans, pursuing a policy of disclosure, openly looted and killed, sparing no one.
Shcherbin and Volodarsky represent the case that the entire Civil War Chapay fought exclusively against the Ural Cossacks. They fight in the film and under Sarapul, and they defend Ufa, although in reality they were not even close there. In fact, Chapaev fought against the Urals at the very beginning of his career, then - for the first time after his appointment to the Frunze 4 army and, finally, in the last months of his life, after his capture by the Ufa division. And it was the Soviet government that started the war with the Cossacks. When in March 1918, the Ural Cossack army declared its autonomy and insubordination to Moscow until the time when the All-Russian Constituent Assembly was convened, the Red Army detachments, including Chapaev’s detachment, immediately invaded the territory.
And the real Chapaev had a chance to fight against the Czechoslovak Corps, against the troops of the Samara Komuch, against the Volga Kappel Corps in Kolchak's army (despite what is shown in the famous “psychic attack” in the Vasilyevs film: “Kappelevtsy go!”, This corps was not one officers, and on the contrary, from very unreliable units formed from captured Red Army men). But the authors of the film, as opponents of Chapaev, needed only Cossacks as the personification of a certain evil elemental force, for nothing destroying the civilian population, including women, children and the elderly. The terror carried out by Chapaev and Chapaev is shown as a forced measure: the Red Army fired at the peasants only after the peasants were the first to shoot them in the back with rifles and machine guns. Chapaevts shot from among the prisoners only officers. Cossacks shoot first and kill not only adults, but also children, and old men, and women. They also shoot all the Red Army soldiers taken prisoner, including those who voluntarily surrendered, and not just the commissars.
Against the demons of the revolution
The enemies of Chapaev and the Bolsheviks are quite caricatureful. They are obsessed only with the idea of clearing Russia of the “Bolshevik contagion” and reinning the “rebellious boors”. Soviet power is represented in the film as the embodiment of Russian statehood, although not without flaws. Chapai fights with these shortcomings as much as he can. He fights with commissars and security officers. All of them are shown by people extremely unsympathetic. It is the commissars who demand countless requisitions, and Chapaev, as far as he can, resist being robbed by the people. Commissioners all the time send denunciations of Chapaev. One of them even holds a party meeting in the division, accusing him of being immoral - cohabiting with the daughter of the White Guard colonel and demanding to exclude him from the party. Probably, the filmmakers think in the categories of party gathering in a Soviet institution in the 70 of the last century, according to the statement of the wife, who asks her husband to return from his mistress. If Chapaevsky’s commissar had tried to convene a similar meeting in the division, he would have lived a few minutes after the start of this meeting.
Dmitry Furmanov himself is a coward and a scoundrel among unsympathetic commissars, shooting Chapaev in the back from jealousy during a battle. Needless to say, the real Furmanov was not like that. In August, 1920, he led a red landing against the Vrangelis who had landed in Kuban, in this battle he was heavily wounded, received the Order of the Red Banner. Chapaev did indeed follow Furmanov’s wife, Anna Steshenko, but did not achieve reciprocity. And Dmitriy Andreevich didn’t even have a head start in his thoughts. On the contrary, as Furmanov wrote about Chapaev, "he wanted my death, so that Nai would go to him ... He can be decisive not only for noble, but also for vile deeds." And Chapaev, when Furmanov was transferred to the political department head of the Turkestan army (and was involuntarily saved from death in Lbishchensk), on the contrary, asked to keep the commissioner with whom he had time to become related.
I must say that Chapaev in the series is represented by a real Don Juan, for which women run around, and Petka (Chapaev’s adjutant Peter Isaev) came to the film from jokes about Chapaev, and all his dialogues with Vasily Ivanovich are old or new jokes. The most remarkable of them is about a bucket of moonshine ("Vasily Ivanovich, and you drink three-quarters of a bucket? If you have a good snack, I can! And you can bucket? No, Petka, I will not manage. But Lenin could! So Lenin, the world’s leader the proletariat! ”).
The main demon of the revolution, according to the authors of the film, is Trotsky, all evil from him. He is shown as a deft demagogue who seeks lime Chapaev. His visit to the Chapayev brigade in September 1918 of the year is purely caricatured. Speaking before the fighters with a demagogic speech, Lev Davydovich simultaneously tastes a watermelon and spits bones directly on Chapaev's boots. Trotsky can be treated differently. But even his ardent haters admit that he was not a fool, but was an outstanding orator and knew how to convince the soldiers that revolutionaries were right, long before the October revolution. And, of course, the chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council was well aware that when you give a speech, in no case can you chew, otherwise the audience will laugh at you.
A film dedicated to such an outstanding personality as Chapaev, it would seem, should reproduce the main historical events associated with it. However, in the series “Chapay Passion”, the story is just very conditional. When we see Chapaya during the First World War, the moment associated with the February Revolution, generally remains behind the scenes. The spectator expects that the tsar is about to be overthrown, and suddenly the news comes that a Bolshevik coup occurred in Petrograd and Moscow and Lenin was in power, which means that many previous episodes probably took place already under the Provisional Government. And in the film, Chapaev joined the party immediately after the October Revolution, whereas in fact, not least, he became a Bolshevik at the end of September 1917.
For some reason, the message of the Bolshevik coup inspires the officers of the regiment, where Chapaev serves, to try to bring the soldiers to obedience and force them to go on the offensive. This scene actually reproduces that episode of Sergei Gerasimov’s film “The Quiet Don”, where during the Kornilov revolt, the esaul Kalmykov and other officers tried to force the Cossacks to go to Petrograd, and then the Bolshevik Bunchuk arrested and shot Kalmykov. During the Kornilov speech in August-September 1917, this happened very often. But in the days of the October Revolution, such behavior of officers is absolutely unbelievable. By that time, those officers who wanted to continue the war had either escaped from the army or were killed. Incidentally, from the film “The Quiet Don”, the mise en scene of the episode “Fight at Yar and the Shooting of Captured Officers” was taken (in Gerasimov this is an episode of the death of Peter Melekhov).
In "Chapaev's Passion" it is difficult to understand when the action takes place in 1918, and when - in 1919. So, when Chapaev’s division attacks Ufa (in reality, it was June 1919 of the year), Chapaev’s main enemy, Captain Yevgeny Maltsev, tells his drinking companions, the officers opening the American cannon, that the White armies were defeated and Denikin had already left Russia, so soon the officers will may be where this stew is made. This episode, I note, reproduces the typical scene of Soviet films about the Great Patriotic War, where officers in the dugout open a can of stew with the words: “Well, let's open the second front!”. However, Denikin left Russia only in April 1920 of the year, transferring power to Wrangel. In June, 1919, Anton Ivanovich, was just preparing the famous Moscow directive, and Baron Wrangel took the “red Verdun” - Tsaritsyn, where the Moscow directive was published on July 3.
There is no reason to talk about the mass of military historical inaccuracies. We mention only a few. When Chapaev's regiment in the 1916 year goes on the attack, the Germans fire at him with rifles and machine guns, but for some reason do not use artillery at all, although it accounted for more than 70 percent of casualties in the First World War. An analogue of the “psychic attack” from the film of the Vasilyev brothers in the series is the fight between mounted Cossacks and pikes with the Chapayev infantry in the trenches. Meanwhile, from the peak refused already in the First World War. In the Civil Cossacks sometimes had to take up the peaks again - when there were no cartridges. But in any case, the peak could be used either in horse combat or against infantry in the open. Against infantry in the trenches, the peaks were useless. And the Cossacks attacked, turning into lava, and not in a marching column of three, as happens in the film. Cossacks dressed the whole movie in white tunic, which in fact existed only before the Russian-Japanese war, and then were replaced by defensive ones. Yevgeny Maltsev, an infantry officer, suddenly turns into a cavalryman in the Civil War, and while serving among the Cossacks, he wore the rank of captain. At the same time, army officers transferred to Cossack troops were automatically accepted into Cossacks and received Cossack ranks.
When Chapaev sinks in the Urals in the final, this, according to the authors' intention, should be perceived as his departure into the secret city of Kitezh. The real Chapaev, probably, was neither righteous nor a villain. He was just one of the many heroes of the Civil War. And by his death, Chapaev, one might say, destroyed the Ural Cossack army. Success under Lbishchensky was a Pyrrhic victory for the Cossacks. Thanks to the reserves captured in Lbishchensk, the Cossacks held the front almost until winter, and the retreat to Persia began three months later, only in November of the 1919 year. As a result, no more than two thousand people survived from typhus, famine and severe Kazakh cold weather from the 11-thousand army, and only 162 escaped from Soviet captivity, led by ataman Tolstov, after long ordeals that reached Australia.