USSR, Lenfilm, 1962, 99 minutes
Scriptwriter: Vasily Aksyonov
Director: Viktor Sokolov
Choreographer: Natalia Dudinskaya
Cast: Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Iya Arepina, Vladimir Emelyanov, Valentina Belyaeva, Leonid Bykov
In 1961, Vasily Aksyonov, the author of the acclaimed story "A Ticket to the Stars" (1961), wrote a script under the provisional title "I'm in Tow" and offered it to the Lenfilm studio. The party bureau criticized it, calling it "ideologically harmful" and "pessimistic". There was even a proposal to abolish the script department, since its employees could not provide the studio with ideologically correct scripts. But at the artistic council, the script department defended its positions. “The protagonist could grow into a future Gagarin” - that was the main argument. And so "I'm in Tow" went to director Vladimir Sokolov and went into production under the title "When the Bridges are Raised".
“There are certain difficulties in the choice of young male actors. It is not so easy to find young performers for the leading roles”, director Viktor Sokolov reported on the filming progress. (Sokolov V. Predstoit bol'shaia interesnaia rabota [A Lot of Interesting Work Ahead] // Kadr [Shot] (L.). 1961. 17. October 14. S. 3.) For Vladimir Kolokoltsev, this was not the first big film role. In Genrikh Gabay’s “The Green Van (1959), he had played a former high school student who joined the criminal investigation department, charming and cheerful. In Sokolov’s film, the actor appeared in a different way. Valerka’s wide smile hid a poorly concealed melancholy. After the film’s release, the Soviet press accused the director of the absence of "a bunch of thoughts about life" (Velednikov V. Nizhe vozmozhnostei avtora [Below the Author’s Capabilities] // Sovetskii ekran [The Soviet Screen] (M.). 1963. 6. S. 6.). But where could this "bunch" come from? It’s not so easy to go into space, and the war is long over. And so the sea beckons Valerka - no thoughs about the bright Soviet future, only dreams of personal happiness, which does not come. The girl he loves rejects him, choosing to carve out her own life, but she also does not really succeed in it... From a photo, meanwhile, Audrey Hepburn looks at her, reminding her: “Do not miss your chance”. So Inga tries her best, even agrees to a job "no worse than any other", to sell lottery tickets. Perhaps she will also get the one that will bring her luck?
At the level of the plot, Sokolov has everything layed out and predicted. But although the ending of the film with Valerka’s successful employment in the port seems artificial and made-up, just to hint about the happy future of the young builder of communism and to condemn Inga who sells lottery tickets, the sincere intonation of the director redeems everything.
All paths are open to yesterday’s tenth graders. Valera chooses the most romantic profession: he plans to become a sea captain and go on distant voyages. But until Valerka passes the entrance exam to the nautical school, he is destined to sail only on an old harbor tug.