Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his ...
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Set in the bleak aftermath and devastation of the World War I, a recently demobbed soldier, Timosh, returns to his hometown Kiev, after having survived a train wreck. His arrival coincides ... See full summary »
A peasant comes to St. Petersburg to find work. He unwittingly helps in the arrest of an old village friend who is now a labor leader. The unemployed peasant is also arrested and sent to ... See full summary »
After the critical lambasting of his masterpiece Earth, Dovzhenko returned with a more popular iteration of its main motifs. Much like Earth, Ivan concerns itself with the natural rhythms ... See full summary »
In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the... See full summary »
A five-person team of gold prospectors in the Yukon has just begun to enjoy great success when one of the members snaps, and suddenly kills two of the others. The two survivors, a husband ... See full summary »
In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in ... See full summary »
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his life trying to find. The film wonderfully blends both lyricism and politics and uses its central construct to build a montage praising Ukrainian industrialisation, attacking the European bourgeoisie, celebrating the beauty of the Ukrainian steppe and re-telling ancient folklore. Zvenigora is a most remarkable avant-garde film, which has a unique style in its approach and disregards the more traditional storytelling devices.
"As the lights went on, we felt that we had just witnessed a memorable event in the development of the cinema" S.M. Eisenstein
In the 2012 Sight & Sound Directors Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time, Guy Maddin put Zvenigora on his top ten list along with such films as Malick's The Tree of Life, Buñuel's L'Age d'Or, and Vigo's Zero de Conduite. See more »
In honor of the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of VUFKU (The All-Ukrainian Photo-Cinema Administration), the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Film Centre implemented a digital restoration of "Zvenyhora" (Russian transliteration: "Zvenigora"). It was released on DVD in 2011, as part of the collection "Ukrainian Re-Vision" ("Ukrainske Nime"). This version has a running time of 67 minutes and features a score by Ukrainian ensemble Futurethno (2011). Because the original Ukrainian intertitles were lost when they were cut and replaced with Russian intertitles in the mid-1930s, this restoration used Dovzhenko's script (published in "O. Dovzhenko's Works", 5 volumes, Kyiv: Dnipro, 1985) to reinstate the Ukrainian intertitles. See more »
Fascinating for Silent & Russian film enthusiasts - others, probably not.
Looking at the few reviews I've read, I'd like to strike a balance. I'd just bought the recently issued 3 film boxed set of Dovzhenko's War Trilogy, of which, this is the start. I bought the set as it was an absolute bargain, making it little more than the fairly well-known 'Earth' that I'd heard about and wanted to see.
Firstly, I took 'cinematic poetry' to be just that, images and scenes that evoked a story rather than simply reciting it in the usual way. Thus heavy symbolism plays a huge part and I have to disagree with those that say one has to know the subject to appreciate it. I use that word, 'appreciate' rather than 'understand' and it is the very nature of the genre here, known as 'avant-garde' that further takes into realms of fantasy, or, pretentious waffle, if that's how you take it.
Avant-garde is not my favourite genre either but when you consider that this is still the Silent Era - normality would be having a fixed camera, on a studio set and the actors moving around in front of it, in all but the most expensive and adventurous productions. The Russians, at this point, as well some notable German film-makers were doing much more and experimenting with double exposures, cutting, fading, all-sorts, simply to extend both the boundaries of their imagination and cinematic technology.
Of course, film has moved on an awfully long way and so has people's entertainment. These moving images are both historical; a recreated scenario now wouldn't anywhere near the same authenticity - and human. As in stills photography of those days, it is capturing people and their lives that would have seemed so special and fascinating, marrying that up with story-telling would take longer as both film-makers and the public got used to this exciting, new medium. Marx unashamedly exploited artists of all kinds for propaganda purposes and these have, understandably, been seen in a bad light in the West, but thank goodness now, we are finally seeing them for what they are, not were - pioneering and hugely influential.
I'm no historian or film expert and in effect, I haven't really reviewed the title itself but hopefully cast a light on it as a subject. However, I would say that the Mr Bongo reproduction, from the restored print is very good, with hardly a blemish and features a new(?) stereo orchestral score.
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