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Zvenigora (1928)

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 ... See full synopsis »

Writers:

Aleksandr Dovzhenko (supervising writer), Mikhail Ioganson | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Georgi Astafyev Georgi Astafyev ... Scythian leader (as G. Astafyev)
Nikolai Nademsky ... Grandpa / General
Vladimir Uralskiy ... Peasant
Aleksandr Podorozhnyy Aleksandr Podorozhnyy ... Pavlo - second grandson (as Les Podorozhnij)
Semyon Svashenko ... Timoshka - first grandson
I. Selyuk I. Selyuk ... Ataman
L. Barné L. Barné ... Monk
L. Parshina L. Parshina ... Timoshka's wife
P. Sklyar Otawa P. Sklyar Otawa ... Okasana - Mountain Princess
A. Simonov A. Simonov ... Cossack Officer
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Storyline

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

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Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

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Details

Country:

Soviet Union

Release Date:

8 May 1928 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Звенигора See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

VUFKU See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Referenced in S-A-N-D-R-A (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Astounding combination of Ukrainian folklore and future
3 November 2003 | by gareth-28See all my reviews

Zvenigora is, in terms of narrative and content, one of the most remarkable avant-garde films of an exuberantly experimental period. The film uses the central construct of a legend regarding treasure buried in Mount Zvenigora to build a montage of scenes praising Ukrainian industrialisation, attacking the European bourgeoisie, celebrating the beauty of the Ukrainian steppe and re-telling ancient myths.

The narrative is built upon Modernist lines, disregarding the traditional, novelistic storytelling techniques and instead using abrupt shifts in time and using the constructive devices of avant-garde poets such as Blok, Bely and Mayakovsky to create a picture of modern Ukraine that pushes in several directions at once.

There are some incredibly striking tableaux that require the viewers to create a structure for themselves (such as the Bolshevik soldier directing his own execution) although the climax does draw the preceding events together, combining the dialectical threads of modern industry and the old man's myth together in two exhilarating scenes.

The cinematography is fascinating - elements of the style of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Protazanov and Kuleshov are recognisable, yet Zvenigora seems completely different to any of them. The juxtaposition of rapid montages, swift city tours and slow, poetic journeys around the countryside is powerful, and the mythical scenes, although winding, are beautifully realised with a dreamlike quality to them.

Zvenigora is not Dovzhenko's masterpiece, if only because his Earth (1930) is one of the greatest Russian films ever made. However, it is highly recommended, although if you are new to Russian film of the period it is probably not the best place to start.


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