Film Description: This 1968 Soviet film, directed by Vladimir Berenshtein, is a love letter to the Soviet navy. It depicts one Soviet navy ship’s journey across allegedly neutral waters and constant antagonistic interactions with an American ship. The viewers of the film do not learn the exact details of the Soviet ship’s mission, but we do learn that one young sailor Zhenia Gridasov has been given secret documents in a steel briefcase that he is entrusted with protecting. When the briefcase accidentally goes overboard, he jumps into the water immediately to find and recover it. He locates the briefcase, but is separated from his ship and the film follows him for several days as he floats, looking for help. In the film Zhenia faces death at sea, or rescue by the Americans, and it is unclear which would be worse. The last line of the film makes this clear the importance of public duty as the captain says, “Carrying out one’s duty is difficult, but it’s truly the reason we live.”
The scene shows the moment when the soviet sailor Zhenia, who has fallen overboard, is rescued by the Americans. His relief at being rescued soon turns to mistrust as the American sailors reveal themselves to be truly concerned about what is in his briefcase. And so, weak from days alone at sea, he still decides, and manages to, escape from his would-be saviors.