A Russian silent movie about a time after the Revolution where everyone farmers in the Ukraine, who were allowed to keep their land initially, until Stalin ordered the hostile takeover of all the agriculture both for the ownership of the government and to “weed out” the last of the capitalists within their borders. However, the peasants do not turn over their land and instead start a minor revolt by themselves. They ask, “who is the government to say that we can’t own the land we own?” And for a moment they’re able to prosper. Until their leader is brutally slain.
Decent acting for a silent film, coupled with a good score and great editing/cinematography, this makes for a very unique viewing experience. It’s also a Russian film with strong political undertones that speak out against Communism at a time when doing so was likely to get you killed. Luckily for the film’s creator, Alexander Dovzhenko, they only tried to kill the movie with bad publicity. Which didn’t work as the movie grew into something that was viewed throughout the country and is said by many film historians to be one of the greatest films to come out of the entire existence of the Soviet Union. If nothing else, this film is an example of a movie that is heavily criticized upon its release but resonates anyway with the audience that finds it. Maybe because of the films uniqueness, or that it has hidden depths that could only be discovered upon repeat viewings, or maybe it’s one that’s made with such passion, style, and love that nothing anyone can say keeps the film from showing its heart.
I don’t have much to penalize the film for. There’s a montage showing every step it takes to harvest grain and then turn it into bread which gets to be borderline documentary and doesn’t quite match the tone of the rest of the film. It’s a short scene in this fairly short movie, so I guess it’s not much of a complaint…
Why you should watch it before you die: This is an amazingly creative drama of the silent era. I’d recommend this to anyone who’s interested in an historical film with political undertones of the day and some of the best cinematography I think I’ve seen in any movie.
+10: a truly beautiful movie
-0: some half-hearted grievance I had, I hardly remember it now