"Traktoristy" (Tractor-drivers) is a strange movie from classic Soviet director Ivan Pyriev. On one hand, it is a pure stalinist propaganda of the workers class, and like hundreds of other period movie of that time (the movie was set in 1939), and it sure did mean to prepare people for the upcoming war and raise the fighting spirit of the nation. On the other hand, if one can abstract from the propagandistic nature of the film, it is possible to see the powerful cinematographic side of it. Over-the-edge performances, fast soc-realistic camera work, sincere pathos of the heroes - it has everything for which Eisenstein's films are famous. And it isn't a coincidence, as Pyriev started his career under the wing of the maître. Interestingly, the movie was re-edited during the Khruschev's dethronement of Stalin's cult as it appeared to be too pro-stalinist (which is absolute truth). Only recently there has been re-edition of the original in Russia. Seeing the film, we see the expression of Soviet mythology. In this sense it is a really scary film, because nothing is real. It can be somehow compared to the images of war heroes and usual people painted on ancient vases - it's an idealized image of life. This movie's antonym in cinema history is Waida's "Man of marble", which helps to understand the rise and fall of communist mythology in retrospective. Probably having more interest for cinematography students than for average viewers, Ivan Pyriev's "Traktoristy" still remains forgotten classic of soc-realism.
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