16 items from 2017
Some impressive action sequences fail to enliven this tale of an artist living in the shadow of the Stalin regime
A well-meaning but overstated drama set during the 1930s famine in Ukraine, Bitter Harvest focuses on talented artist Yuri (Max Irons) and his beloved Natalka (Samantha Barks). Separated when Yuri is imprisoned by Stalin’s oppressive regime (led by a malevolent Tamer Hassan as a local commissar) the couple must survive Holodomor, the death-by-starvation programme by which Stalin hoped to quell the Ukrainians.
The Cossack horseback action sequences are impressive, but there are too few shots of thundering hooves and too many scenes of stilted political discourse for this picture to take flight.
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- Wendy Ide
Roadside Attractions is looking to take advantage of an Oscar-overloaded audience with its war drama Bitter Harvest, starring Max Irons and Samantha Barks. The company has tapped Ukrainian-Americans for the title's opening weekend in three dozen markets. Gkids on Friday opens its Swiss-French animated film My Life As A Zucchini, which is up for an Animated Feature Oscar this Sunday, while Gravitas Ventures digs into comedy with documentary Dying Laughing by Lloyd Stanton… »
TV spots for “Bitter Harvest” claim that the movie reveals “Russia’s darkest secret.” That’s a catchy pitch for a thoroughly over-baked and blatantly fictionalized 1930s-set costume drama arriving at a moment when anti-Russian sentiment has reached its highest point since the Cold War. The scandal in question is the Holodomor — which is not a secret at all, but rather a widely recognized atrocity through which millions of Ukrainians died of starvation as a direct consequence of Joseph Stalin’s policies.
Like last year’s Kirk Kerkorian-backed “The Promise,” which aimed to be the “Doctor Zhivago” or Armenian genocide epics, “Bitter Harvest” represents a form of ambitious generations-later vindication, for which artists of Ukrainian decent — writer-director George Mendeluk, co-writer Richard Bachynsky-Hoover and producer Ian Ihnatowycz — joined together to expose horrific crimes that went suppressed for so long. And while “Bitter Harvest” will undoubtedly serve to raise awareness, there »
- Peter Debruge
Despite honourable intentions, this film addressing the Stalin-inflicted 1932-33 genocide in Ukraine is at times embarrassingly bad
At least Bitter Harvest’s release date is relatively timely, given the recent focus in the news on Russia’s brutally aggressive, expansive ambitions. Putin may be accused of killing, but he’s got nothing on Joseph Stalin who instigated the genocide via famine of some 10 million Ukrainians in 1932-33, an atrocity now known at the Holodomor. This drama by director/co-writer George Mendeluk is one of the very few western films to address the subject, and while one may applaud the intention, the execution is markedly uneven.
Max Irons stars as Yuri, a Cossack’s son with dreamy eyes and notable daddy issues who deeply loves feisty local beauty Natalka (Samantha Barks). Not long after their marriage, Stalin (incarnated by Gary Oliver in cutaway scenes, practically twiddling his bushy, fake moustache) comes »
- Leslie Felperin
Bitter Harvest Roadside Attractions Reviewed by: Harvey Karten, Shockya Grade: C+ Director: George Mendeluk Written by: Richard Bachynsky-Hoover, George Mendeluk Cast: Max Irons, Tom Austen, Samantha Barks, Richard Brake, Aneurin Barnard, Tamer Hassan, William Beck Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 2/13/17 Opens: February 24, 2017 Wouldn’t it be nice if we could call 20th Century’s […]
The post Bitter Harvest Review: Takes on Stalin for the paranoid monster that he was appeared first on Shockya.com. »
- Harvey Karten
Author: Stefan Pape
Such was the extent that Stalin covered up the Holodomor, you can’t be blamed for having not heard of it – despite the fact it’s rumoured that around seven million people were killed of starvation in Ukraine, back in 1932.
Since being uncovered properly in the 1990s, few filmmakers have tackled these devastating set of events – but now it’s what sets the precedence for period drama Bitter Harvest, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with the film’s leading duo to discuss the project, and how important it was they shot this film on location.
“In the crew there were people whose grandparents and parents had either survived or not survived the Holodomor it’s a thing that still affects generations today,” Samantha Barks explained. “So to have that in front of your face, people’s stories, you couldn’t ask for more, it »
- Stefan Pape
Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out.
This Past Weekend:
Presidents' Day weekend was an interesting one at the box office, and as with most holiday weekends, it was particularly difficult to figure out how things might fare, other than The Lego Batman Movie, which remained at #1 with almost $45 million over the four-day weekend. Fifty Shades Darker followed with $21.3 million, about a 50% drop. Last week, I thought that the Ice Cub comedy Fist Fight would beat The Great Wall, although it seemed like it could be a close race. Nope. Matt Damon’s action epic came in third place with $21.6 million, which is a couple million more than my original prediction, but The Fist Fight fell short of my prediction by almost $10 million, grossing $14.5 million in its first four days. »
- Edward Douglas
Set in 1930s Ukraine, George Mendeluk’s historical drama “Bitter Harvest” follows the story of young lovers Yuri (Max Irons) and Natalka (Samantha Barks), who fall victims to Stalin’s genocidal policies.
Yuri, a very talented young artist, will do anything — including enduring famine, imprisonment and torture — to save his childhood sweetheart from the Holodomor, the death-by-starvation program that killed millions of Ukrainians. What follows is a wrenching love story with some startling real world implications.
“Bitter Harvest” was filmed on location in Ukraine. Mendeluk co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Bachynsky-Hoover, based on Bachynsky-Hoover’s original story. Bachynsky-Hoover also serves as one of the executive producers of the film. The cast also includes Gary Oliver in the role Staling, Barry Pepper as Yaroslav, Tamer Hassan as Sergei, and Terence Stamp as Ivan.
“Bitter Harvest” will be »
- Yoselin Acevedo
Author: Stefan Pape
The Holodomor was a man-made famine that existed in Ukraine in 1932, and lasted over a year. In that time up to seven million people were murdered, dying from starvation. Yet how much do you know about this barbaric catastrophe, if at all? It’s somehow managed to be mostly untold in cinema, nor at schools for that matter, and so much lies on the shoulders of George Mendeluk, in one of the very first English language productions to cast an eye over this horrific set of events. Yet after watching this underwhelming production, it’s hard not to wish for another version.
Yuri (Max Irons) is raised in a respectable family, son of Yaroslav (Barry Pepper) and grandson of the celebrated war hero Ivan (Terence Stamp), and he falls for childhood friend Natalka (Samantha Barks), wanting nothing more than to marry the love of his life, and »
- Stefan Pape
This Friday sees the UK release of the romantic drama Bitter Harvest, a powerful story of love, honour and rebellion amid the brutal backdrop of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s genocidal policies against the Ukraine during the 1930s.
Directed by George Mendeluk (Deck the Halls), Bitter Harvest sees Max Irons (The White Queen) and Samantha Barks (Les Miserables) leading the cast as the two young lovers at the centre of the epic story, that also includes Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan), Tamer Hassan (The Double) and Terence Stamp (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children). Take a look at the synopsis and trailer below…
As Stalin advances the ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union, a young artist named Yuri (Max Irons) battles to survive famine, imprisonment and torture to save his childhood sweetheart Natalka (Samantha Barks) from the “Holodomor,” the death-by-starvation program which ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians. Against this tragic backdrop, »
- Amie Cranswick
Bitter Harvest Roadside Attractions Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya Grade: C+ Director: George Mendeluk Written by: Richard Bachynsky-Hoover, George Mendeluk Cast: Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Tom Austen, Richard Brake, Aneurin Barnard, Tamer Hassan, William Beck Release Date: February 24th, 2017 Most people never heard of the 1932 Holodomor in Ukraine, a man-made […]
The post Bitter Harvest Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com. »
- Tami Smith
Max Irons and Samantha Barks on ‘Bitter Harvest… by Uinterview For Max Irons and Samantha Barks, stars of Bitter Harvest, the main takeaway of the drama film is spreading awareness of the Holodomor, a man-made famine in the Ukraine which killed millions of ethnic-Ukrainians. Max Irons, Samantha Barks Video Exclusive Bitter Harvest is set in […]
- Catherine Valdez
To mark the release of Bitter Harvest, we’ve been given 5 pairs of tickets for the screening on 20th February at a central London location.
Based on one of the most overlooked tragedies of the 20th Century, Bitter Harvest is a powerful story of love, honour, rebellion and survival as seen through the eyes of two young lovers caught in the ravages of Joseph Stalin’s genocidal policies against Ukraine in the 1930s. As Stalin advances the ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union, a young artist named Yuri (Max Irons) battles to survive famine, imprisonment and torture to save his childhood sweetheart Natalka (Samantha Barks) from the “Holodomor,” the death-by-starvation program which ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians. Against this tragic backdrop, Yuri escapes from a Soviet prison and joins the anti-Bolshevik resistance movement as he battles to reunite with Natalka and continue the fight for a free Ukraine. »
“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably.
You’ve made it out of dump month, hopefully having caught up on all the Oscar nominees that rolled out wider nationwide. February even has a couple prizes for your trouble whether festival holdovers or hotly anticipated sequels. You may just have to tread carefully amongst a few more clunkers to find them.
Sadly, the poster selection is going to be no help on this front. Lackluster is the word that comes to mind: a few will catch your eye and a handful will draw you in, but »
- Jared Mobarak
Ahead of its UK release next month, Arrow Films has unveiled a trailer for writer-director George Mendeluk’s romantic drama Bitter Harvest, which stars Max Irons and Samantha Barks as two lovers fighting for survival in the Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.
Based on one of the most overlooked tragedies of the 20th Century, Bitter Harvest is a powerful story of love, honour, rebellion and survival as seen through the eyes of two young lovers caught in the ravages of Joseph Stalin’s genocidal policies against Ukraine in the 1930s. As Stalin advances the ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union, a young artist named Yuri (Max Irons) battles to survive famine, imprisonment and torture to save his childhood sweetheart Natalka (Samantha Barks) from the “Holodomor,” the death-by-starvation program which ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians. Against this tragic backdrop, Yuri escapes from a Soviet prison and joins the anti-Bolshevik resistance movement »
- Gary Collinson
Author: Jon Lyus
At the beginning of December we were delighted to debut the first poster for George Mendeluk’s Bitter Harvest. Today we have a fine follow up for you, the first look at the stirring first trailer for the film. Co-written by Mendeluk with Richard Bachynsky-Hoover from on his original story, the film stars Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Barry Pepper, Tamer Hassan and Terence Stamp.
The new trailer portrays the awful reality of Stalin’s horrific collectivisation during the 1930s, otherwise known Holodomor (a translation of the Ukrainian phrase ‘execution by hunger’). The central love story between Max Irons and Samantha Barks gives an emotional grounding to the unthinkable torment endured during that period. The two sides are drawn well in the trailer, and Mendeluk’s direction looks to capture the terror and passion so important to telling this story.
Arrow Films are releasing the film here in »
- Jon Lyus
16 items from 2017
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