"Song of the Great Rivers", also known as "Unity" or "Seven Rivers" is a documentary film by the Dutch director Joris Ivens for the East German DEFA Studio from 1954, filmed with an English commentary by Alex McCrindle.
An overtly propaganda production extolling Socialist methods and achievements it is, at the same time witheringly critical of capitalism and capitalist countries. Its message is for workers of the world to choose between fun holidays on the Black Sea and strikes and lockouts in the UK or France. Between brotherly inter-racial support and the Klu Klux Klan. Between peace and war.
In cinema terms an interesting reminder of the cold war and of how the world worked, at least according to the Soviets, a couple of generations back. Musically though the film is of great interest boasting an original score of considerable invention by Dmitri Shostakovich and with the title song, with words of Bertolt Brecht (in translation by S. Kirsanov), sung by Paul Robeson episodically through the film. Although a certain amount of music will be familiar to Shostakovich enthusiasts, with quotations from Song of the Forests and Symphony No. 8 among other works, much is as yet unrecorded.
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