Set in the bleak aftermath and devastation of the World War I, a recently demobbed soldier, Timosh, returns to his hometown Kiev, after having survived a train wreck. His arrival coincides ... See full summary »
In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the... See full summary »
In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in ... See full summary »
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (whom Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »
Gabriel de Gravone
Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his ... See full synopsis »
Anna Bedford, a young and idealistic girl from Pennsylvania, accepts a State Department assignment to serve in the US Embassy in Moscow shortly after the allied victory over fascist Germany... See full summary »
Set in the bleak aftermath and devastation of the World War I, a recently demobbed soldier, Timosh, returns to his hometown Kiev, after having survived a train wreck. His arrival coincides with a national celebration of Ukrainian freedom, but the festivities are not to last as a disenchanted. Written by
I call this a near-masterpiece because of the basic purpose of it, which is propaganda. This film exists as agitprop, and while it contains phenomenal and ferocious imagery, ultimately the single-minded viewpoint hobbles it as art and undercuts its slight attempts at humanity. While it can be viewed as a Revolutionary piece, exhorting a 'proper' spirit of energy, knowing it was made by a Ukrainian in 1929 while the Stalinist regime was either plotting or bumbling their way to the Great Famine makes this film deeply questionable in a moral sense. The theme of a Ukrainian learning Revolutionary values in the Great War, then returning to destroy the 'corrupt' forces of 'old Ukraine' made me deeply uneasy. That said, the imagery and sequences in this (quite late) silent film are second to none. The toothless, laughing soldier is one of the most stunning single images ever committed to film; and the general pacing, with a deliberate, lingering sense of time, forces concentration on the set-pieces. Much of the film is brutal, inhuman, and cruel. This is both an accurate representation of the setting itself and of the type of violent us-vs.-them propaganda produced by the Soviets at the time. I find this film VERY unsettling from a moral standpoint, something I don't often find myself saying. But, again, the masterful and stunning imagery makes it well worth viewing more than once.
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