In early Summer 1941, German troops penetrate into Russia, wreaking human and material destruction. Ivan Orlyukov, a young Russian, takes up arms and rises up against the invader. He is not... See full summary »
This film was directed by Yuliya Solntseva, and presents an "autobiographical film story" written by her beloved husband Aleksandr Dovzhenko, who remained fascinated by a magical childhood on the banks of the River Desna in Ukraine. It was made after his death and serves as a wondrous memorial.
The Enchanted Desna has the feel of Under Milk Wood, a window into a time and a place where life was subject to a magical harmony. Young Alexandr, with a head of thatched hair runs past thatched roofed houses, rows of tobacco flowers and sunflowers, trees heavy with fruit and the people live with pre and post Christian superstitions.
The Soviet industrialisation that followed is also shown and is not contrasted unfavourably to the fin de siècle era, Dovzhenko in this sense was a bit of a Zhivago. There is a fair bit of the tragedy of war shown as well though the movie steadfastly refuses to show any recognition of the German troops' presence directly.
A very beautiful film, which I finished in somewhat of a fever. Here are some quotes from the movie (straight from the book): "We lived, to a certain extent, in harmony with nature. In winter we froze, in summer we roasted in the sun, in autumn we kneaded the mud with our feet, while in spring we were inundated by the flood. He who has not experienced all this does not know what joy and real living is." "We can only pity the man whose imagination is dull and dries up"whose recollection of childhood and adolescence yields nothing dear and unusual, and whom nothing can warm or make sad or happy, such a man is nondescript, whatever his status, and his work, denied the warm rays of time, is doomed to be nondescript"
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