This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls,... See full summary »
This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls, distributing hand bills, exhorting all to "buy from the cooperative" as opposed to the Public Sector, promoting temperance, and helping poor widows. Experimental portions of the film, projected in reverse, feature the un-slaughtering of a bull and the un-baking of bread. Written by
George S. Davis
A film espousing the new religion of the new USSR.
This is a propaganda film...period. Its sole purpose is to sing the praises of the new USSR and idealize the new nation--this is obvious throughout. Because of this, as a film, it leaves a lot to be desired. It is clearly a government-sponsored documentary to say how wonderful the country now is through the help of the people--particularly, though not exclusively, because of the Young Pioneers. If you aren't familiar with this governmental organization, it was the prototype for the later Hitler Youth--an ultra-nationalist Boy Scout-like group that solidified the 'proper' ideals in a very repressed society. So, instead of being anti-semitic (like the Hitler Youth), the ideals in this film are hard-work and love of country--not bad ideals if the country doesn't abuse this youthful exuberance. Some abuse is evident by the anti-religious comments sprinkled into the film (as the new USSR was strictly an atheist state)--such as the woman saying that the Young Pioneers were a good replacement for the church in young people's lives and the mental patient who says he is Jesus). Unfortunately, just a few years later, Stalin changed the relatively benign Pioneers in the years following this film--when children were encouraged to spy on their own families.
However, and this is important, the film can't be completely dismissed because of its strong bias. First, for a 1920s documentary, it's pretty well made and took a lot of work. Second, despite the government strictly controlling this film, it does give an idealized view of the early years of the Soviet Union--minus, of course, such things as food shortages, purges and the like. So for film historians, it is an interesting film. But don't at all confuse this with real life--it's all carefully orchestrated. However, I WAS confused by the odd plot throughout the film--what did the mental patients and other odd portions of the final portion of the film have to do with the beginning?! I think (and I am guessing here) that perhaps these people might have been a way to describe the pre-Soviet days--sick and disturbed. However, it sure was vague and there was a lot of material in the film that just seemed to be random (such as the portions on radios). Weird.
By the way, there are a few odd things about the film. While audiences of the time must have thought the backwards portions of the film were cool, today it does appear terribly dated. Also, by today's standards, showing repeated closeups of the dead guy seemed really, really creepy. Also, while most might not think of this, most of the kids in this film were probably killed in the Great Patriotic War (WWII) and this makes it all pretty sad, as these kids would have been on the front lines during the country's invasion.
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