7.4/10
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Zemlya (1930)

Unrated | | Drama | 17 October 1930 (USA)
In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Opanas (as S. Shkurat)
Semyon Svashenko ... Vasili 'Basil' Opanas (as S. Svashenko)
... Vasili's Sister (as Yu. Solntseva)
... Natalya - Vasili's Fiancee (as Ye. Maksimova)
Nikolai Nademsky ... Semyon 'Simon' Opanas (as N. Nademsky)
Ivan Franko ... Arkhip Whitehorse - Khoma's Father (as I. Franko)
Pyotr Masokha ... Khoma 'Thomas' Whitehorse (as P. Masokha)
Vladimir Mikhaylov ... Village Priest (as V. Mikhajlov)
Pavel Petrik ... Young Party-Cell Leader (as P. Petrik)
P. Umanets ... Chairman of the Village Farm Soviet
Ye. Bondina ... Farm Girl
Luka Lyashenko ... Young Kulak (as L. Lyashenko)
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Storyline

Dovzhenko's "film poem" style brings to life the collective experience of life for the Ukranian proles, examining natural cycles through his epic montage. He explores life, death, violence, sex, and other issues as they relate to the collective farms. An idealistic vision of the possibilities of Communism made just before Stalinism set in and the Kulack class was liquidated, "Earth" was viewed negatively by many Soviets because of its exploration of death and other dark issues that come with revolution. Written by Jeff Walker <star5780@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

17 October 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Soil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1991 Kino video)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was voted one of the 12 greatest films of all time by a group of 117 film historians at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. See more »

Quotes

Opanas: As my Basil was killed for a new life, so I'm asking you to bury him in a new way.
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Connections

Featured in The Michael Nyman Songbook (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Clunky propaganda plot and performances but visually and technically impressive and important
22 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

In Ukraine the landowners hold out against progress and the rights of communally worked farms of the people. When one such farm gets a tractor to further help them one of the richer farmers murders one of the collective, hoping to stop the movement in its tracks. However the opposite is true and the collective rises up out of the oppression and the tragedy to overcome the selfish and cruel approach of the rich.

This is one of those films that I knew I had to see rather than one of those films that are less well regarded but are less demanding to watch. I am glad that I finally got round to it because it is technically and visually a very good film with some very striking images. This is different from it being a good film due to the narrative though because in this regard it is quite a mixed bag. The structure of the tale is not great and it doesn't flow together in a way that I found engaging but more of concern to the modern viewer is the sweeping unquestioning propaganda that the story essentially is. It would be nice to pretend that this does not detract from the film but it does – and not because I happen to disagree with the point being made but just because it is the simplistic clumsy point making of propaganda and it does jar slightly.

Dovzhenko's visuals are where the film is strongest though and it is worth seeing for this because whether is the depiction of sorrow or the beauty of the open fields, he catches it really well. If only he had done more with the performances then things would have been helped, not to mention the clunky dialogue cards (although I have to assume that those are mostly down to poor translation). So as long as you are not expecting this to be a fun experience or a great story then it is indeed a classic film that you should watch as part of an education in cinema.


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