Based on real events, the dramatic thriller "Gareth Jones" chronicles a British investigative journalist as he travels deep into the Soviet Union to uncover an international conspiracy. His life-or-death journey inspires George Orwell's "Animal Farm". The director of the film is Agnieszka Holland.
The writer, Andrea Chalupa, for this film about the horrors inflicted on Ukraine by Stalin's autocracy, is also co-host with Sarah Kendzior of Gaslit Nation, "a weekly podcast covering corruption in the Trump administration and rising autocracy around the world". See more »
In reality, Gareth Jones and George Orwell never met. "Animal Farm" was not published until 1945, ten years after Jones's death; it was not the Holodomor but Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War that turned him against the Soviet Union. See more »
Pilonska Glodnych Dzieci
Music by Antoni Komasa
Performed by Choir of Ukrainian See more »
The best movie about Holodomor so far
Being Ukrainian it's somewhat hard to criticize "Mr. Jones" since it's one of a kind movie which brings up pretty uncomfortable to the West topic of genocide of Ukrainians in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless I'd rather refrain from prizing movie as an art form simply because it has shed some lite on scrupulously leave out issue. But this movie is surprisingly pretty good as an art. Dialogues are good, sometimes funny, and picture is overall quite aesthetic. Historical accuracy, though, being quite decent, in some cases failed. As Orwell's fan I'd like to point out that it is highly unlikely that Erik Arthur Blair obtained information about Holodomor from Gareth Jones since Erik's close friend Malcolm Muggeridge (whom Orwell mentioned in his essays) also wrote about this genocide so he is the most probable source of Orwell's information. The overall context of Soviet industry being build in 1930th by the Western countries (mostly by UK and US) in expense of money gained by murdering millions of Ukrainians is correct. Therefore I think it is very unlikely that this genocide of which the West benefited along with Russia will be ever widely recognized. But this was not only mass murder and robbery in order to gain profit (profit was a mere bonus). Thing is this movie failed to call Holodomor what it was - genocide of Ukrainians. As Raphael Lemkin wrote in his now forbidden in Russia article - "Soviet genocide in the Ukraine" (1953): "Ukraine is highly susceptible to racial murder by select parts and so the Communist tactics there have not followed the pattern taken by the German attacks against the Jews. The nation is too populous to be exterminated completely with any efficiency. However, its leadership, religious, intellectual, political, its select and determining parts, are quite small and therefore easily eliminated, and so it is upon these groups particularly that the full force of the Soviet axe has fallen, with its familiar tools of mass murder, deportation and forced labour, exile and starvation... The attack has manifested a systematic pattern, with the whole process repeated again and again to meet fresh outbursts of national spirit. The first blow is aimed at the intelligentsia, the national brain, so as to paralyse the rest of the body... Going along with this attack on the intelligentsia was an offensive against the churches, priests and hierarchy, the 'soul' of Ukraine... The third prong of the Soviet plan was aimed at the farmers, the large mass of independent peasants who are the repository of the tradition, folklore and music, the national language and literature, the national spirit, of Ukraine. The weapon used against this body is perhaps the most terrible of all - starvation... The method used in this part of the plan was not at all restricted to any particular group. All suffered - men, women and children... The fourth step in the process consisted in the fragmentation of the Ukrainian people at once by the addition to the Ukraine of foreign peoples and by the dispersion of the Ukrainians throughout Eastern Europe... This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation." People was not only stripe off any food (not only crop, all kind of food were "requisited" by the Red Army), they where not allowed to flee from villages or to eat fish, wild animals etc. Recollections like this are pretty common: "In our village, when the famine came, for some reason turtles began to swim into the lake. They could be cooked. But the very next day there were armed soldiers around the lake who were not allow no one to the lake." All humanitarian aid from few countries and Western Ukrainians (which were under Polish occupation by then) was refused by Soviet authorities. There were mass cases of cannibalism and even worse evils which this movie omits. But nevertheless "Mr. Jones" is the best movie about this unpopular topic so far.
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