Set in 1930s Ukraine, as Stalin advances the ambitions of communists in the Kremlin, young artist Yuri battles to save his lover Natalka from the Holodomor, the death-by-starvation program that ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians.
Set between the two World Wars and based on true historical events, BITTER HARVEST conveys the untold story of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine engineered by the tyrant Joseph Stalin. The film displays a powerful tale of love, honour, rebellion and survival at a time when Ukraine was forced to adjust to the horrifying territorial ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union. With an exceptional cast of established and rising stars, the film epically recreates one of the most dramatic and dangerous episodes in the history of 20th Century Europe.
Feel the same way about this movie as I felt about Nate Parker's Birth of a Nation which came out last year.
Bitter Harvest is technically about a fairly new topic of the Holodomor. Though it happen 80 years ago I don't think enough information came out about it to make a movie until 2003 when the Russian admitted to it (At least that's what the film is telling me). As far as I know this is possibly the first movie all about the event with a focus on the story of Yuri, an artist at heart, warrior by birthright as he live through this genocide.
The movie jitters a little. It reminds me of the awful Red Tails , which focus a lot on giving us info about the situation rather than telling a story. Weather the filmmakers admit to it or not they were giving us a lot of info more than telling us a story. Though at least that's how the film starts. As we get to know Yuri, the actor that played the part was really good and someone you wanted to pay attention as you go over Yuri's struggle.
But the film technique is too robotic and formulated for me to get a full on emotional connection from all the main characters despite being played by great actors like Terrence Stamp who plays an old warrior and Yuri's grandfather.
I was also very impressed by the actions sequences in the film. Like I said, the film is not organic enough to get much feeling for what I'm seeing but I respect the technique of the action being performed.
The detailed story is nothing I have not seen before. No surprise, everyone at one point in history seems to have gone trough the same events portrayed in the movie (This is happening to people right now) So even though, I learned about Holodomor, A topic I never herd of before watching this film, The movie has nothing new to show me.
So, I don't know if this is the first or one of the first times that a movie deals with this part of Ukrainian history before, but like Birth of a Nation, I want to give it credit for tackling the issue and being decent with the content and hope that the next movie I see on the subject does better.
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