The Tolstoy Defence (aka, Story of One Appointment) is a historical Russian film that tells the gripping story of how the great writer, Lev Tolstoy, tries to save the life of an innocent soldier .
The film’s story takes place in an infantry barracks in the Tula region in Imperial Russia. The young lieutenant Grigory Kolokoltsev is tired of the guardianship of his father, an illustrious general, who constantly reproaches him for his idleness. Kolokoltsev volunteers to go to this military unit near Tula – and as fortune would have it, right by the Tolstoy country estate, Yasnaya Polyana (Ясная Поляна).
He goes with good intentions, intending to uplift the soldiers by teaching them how to read. However, his idealistic impulses are beaten down by misunderstandings with the local cruel general as well as by the laziness of the servicemen. While at this military camp, Kolokoltsev discovers that a lowly clerk is accused of a crime he did not commit. A higher-up had pulled rank and made it seem that this clerk was guilty of stealing government funds. So, desiring with all his heart to help this wretched man, Kolokoltsev asks for help from Leo Tolstoy himself, with whom he has become friends.
Watch The Tolstoy Defence to see if a young idealist and a giant of literature are able to overcome a state machine which cares little for ordinary people.