Dovzhenko's "film poem" style brings to life the collective experience of life for the Ukranian proles, examining natural cycles through his epic montage. He explores life, death, violence, sex, and other issues as they relate to the collective farms. An idealistic vision of the possibilities of Communism made just before Stalinism set in and the Kulack class was liquidated, "Earth" was viewed negatively by many Soviets because of its exploration of death and other dark issues that come with revolution. Written by
Jeff Walker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What an unusual and memorable film this is, almost more like a poem or an impressionist painting than a movie. It's filled with activity and images that push the actual story into the background. Sometimes the characters overreact to events in a highly exaggerated fashion, while at other times they barely respond to what happens - yet it seems both real and believable. The movie is probably not quite as great as some would have it, but it has an unusual appeal that makes you want to watch it (or, perhaps, experience it) over again.
The scenes often have little connection with one another, and it's clear that the plot is not meant to be the main emphasis. On the surface, the story is about the collective farm, their hopes of getting new machinery, and their rivalry with the independent landowners. But it's intended to be something more subtle and worthwhile than a political message. The themes and images involving the characters and, especially, the "Earth" itself, are more vivid than the slight story-line.
To be sure, the collectivist perspective from which the film was made is rather obvious. But that does not detract from this unusual achievement. And while it would not work as light or casual entertainment, it is well worth watching, and it's a movie you won't forget afterwards.
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