This film looks at the artificial famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine through the eyes of a single family. The famine, which killed millions of people, was the result of a Soviet policy intended ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Galina Sulima
Georgi Morozyuk
Maksim Koval
Alyonka Kovtun
Konstantin Kazimirenko
Nionella Svetlichnaya
Leonid Yanovsky
Pyotr Benyuk
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This film looks at the artificial famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine through the eyes of a single family. The famine, which killed millions of people, was the result of a Soviet policy intended to punish Ukrainians for opposing the collectivization of their farms. Written by Keir

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Drama | History

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15 December 1993 (USA)  »

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Famine '33  »

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Artistically weak but historically important film.
17 September 2011 | by (Russe,Bulgaria) – See all my reviews

This film, made in 1991, deals with one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century, namely the forcible collectivization in the Soviet Union in the early 30s and the following hunger that affected above all Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. It should be remembered that this topic was (and in some way still is) the greatest Communist taboo. The mere mentioning of this topic guaranteed brutal repressions for the one who dared raise it. The official propaganda made some works about it ( the most important one was Virgin Soul Upturned ( Podnyataya Zelina in Russian)by Sholokhov and any other views of the subject were forbidden. It should also be mentioned that some Western leftists supported it and helped spreading Stalin's lies about it all over the world. So, the very fact that a realistic though belated film was made about it, is a significant step in understanding and evaluating history. All this said, I cannot help noticing the numerous weaknesses of the film. First of all, the speed is too slow--something typical for the Soviet cinema. Very long shots that become boring, slow dialogs with long pauses. Real life just does not move so slow! Second: the film lacks context and because of this the audience abroad ( I mean non-communist countries) will probably fail to understand what is happening and why. I know that it is almost impossible to explain to a Westerner what life under Communism is, but this fact makes context all the more necessary. The most important thing is that all these horrors and sadistic acts were MAN-MADEq not natural. They are the inevitable results of the non-human Communist ideology. This, however, was not sufficiently and thoroughly explained and in my opinion this is a serious drawback of the film. Third: too many characters blur the plot and the focus is lost. I could not understand who is related to whom. Also, because of the complexity of the subject, the plot should have been done strictly chronological and more focused. As it is, it is a string of loosely connected scenes with big time gaps between them which only confuse the viewer. I liked very much the fact that the film begins in a church during a sermon. This was great: indeed communism is the direct result of loss of faith. Had people been true Christians, Communism would have never taken root worldwide and these monstrosities would not have happened. This spiritual aspect should have been more emphasized in the film! I admire those who raised the topic but I think new and better films about it should be done now and in the future. Lest we people all over the world forget!


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