It may not be Eisenstein but it's a lot of fun. Perestiani's film was thought of as being a fusion of western style and Russian ideology and that's almost exactly what one gets - revolution as "Cowboys and Indians".
Duniasha and Misha are a pair of likable romantic teenagers who find themselves orphaned after an attack on their local railway station by a gang of murdering, plundering and raping bandits (portrayed more as bandits and even pirates - they fly the skull and cross bones - although by implication allies of the counter-revolutionaries) led by their wicked chief Makhno. This in in fact the libertarian anarchist revolutionary Nestor "Batko" Makhno whose Ukrainian Black Army was at times allied with the reds against the whites but then repudiated by the Bolsheviks who destroyed the Makhnovist army and forced him out of Russia in 1921. He is rather oddly portrayed here as a sort of manic juveile delinquent (despite his nickname which means "father"). The real Makhno was still alive in 1923 - and there was still an underground organisatiuon that supported him inside Russia. He travelled round Europe still defending the anarchist cause and would settle in Paris in 1925, where he could perhaps have seen the later adventures of the little red devils.
After successfully fooling and robbing a rich kulak who has profited from the bandits' plunder, they go off to the big city where they but a splendid array of hats, wigs and beards to use as disguises and fall in with Tom Jackson, a black American lad who has ended up as a street-acrobat after abandoning a ship on which he was a sailor. Duniasha and Misha rescue him when he is being beaten up by his employers who have tried to cheat him.
The three become firm friends and are subsequently enrolled into the Red Army which will eventually lead to their tangling once again with the villainous Makhno......
Not exactly Eisenstein or Pudovkin or even Dovzhenko but it was a very popular film and there were four more films featuring the adventures of the three made in 1926. The first one, Savur-Mogili, is not difficult to find and takes the story up exactly where the first film leaves off. It includes something you don't see too often on film - an attempted female (homosexual) rape!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this