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Kommunist (1958)

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Title: Kommunist (1958)

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Cast overview:
Evgeniy Urbanskiy ...
Vasili Gubanov
Sofya Pavlova ...
Yevgeni Shutov ...
Fyodor Fokin
Boris Smirnov
Sergey Yakovlev
Valentin Zubkov ...


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Release Date:

9 February 1958 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

The Communist  »

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Gives according to its ability, but that's not much
1 February 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One has to expect going into a Soviet film from 1958 called "The Communist" that one has a pretty good chance of getting a propaganda film. If one does, this movie is no surprise. Unfortunately, it leans more towards demonstrating the artistic dullness often inspired by devotion to the ideal of the socialist-realist "art movement" than its sometimes-amusing excesses. It does, however, contain some interesting historical insights into how tropes were manipulated in service of the political message.

Our hero is a superhumanly devoted Communist and hard-worker, declaring his loyalty without hesitation in rooms full of people full of people clearly hostile to Communism. Laboring more than anyone imagines possible for the party, he chops down a absurdly prodigious number of trees overnight when others will not help him. Lenin (played by a man who does actually look eerily like Lenin) is portrayed as a man dedicated to fixing the smallest details of work projects in every part of the country, while at the same time extremely busy with being the guiding hand of the revolution.

Our hero, near the end, becomes the only person in town killed when it is struck by malicious fire, allowing him to rather artificially become a martyr.

On the other hand it is interesting that that film contains some thematic material around how moral it may be (within the socialist framework) to pursue a woman who is technically still married -- and many fascinated glimpses at recreated 1920s Russian life.

There were a lot of non-propaganda films on non-political subjects produced in the Soviet Union. This isn't one of them, and it doesn't challenge the prevailing norms about how political material should be presented, or do anything out of its way to do anything interesting cinematically. This makes it the cinema equivalent of the much- derided "tractor novel," and it doesn't have much artistic merit outside of its political context.

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