1921-1930EpicGrigoriy Aleksandrov and Sergei M. EisensteinPoliticsSergei M. EisensteinUSSR

Grigoriy Aleksandrov & Sergei M. Eisenstein – Staroye i novoye aka The Old and the New aka The General Line (1929)


The horseless Marfa Lapkina, together with the local agronomist and other poor peasants, organizes a dairy farm in the village. However, local kulaks are actively resisting the project and any success it could provide. Old poor people also resists, not understanding the meaning of camaraderie and what their unification could bring to them…




The General Line was begun in 1927 as a celebration of the collectivization of agriculture, as championed by old-line Bolshevik Leon Trotsky. Hoping to reach a wide audience, the director forsook his usual practice of emphasizing groups by concentrating on a single rural heroine. Eisenstein briefly abandoned this project to film October: Ten Days That Shook the World, in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. By the time he was able to return to this film, the Party’s attitudes had changed and Trotsky had fallen from grace. As a result, the film was hastily re-edited and sent out in 1929 under a new title, The Old and the New. In later years, archivists restored The General Line to an approximation of Eisenstein’s original concept. Much of the director’s montage-like imagery—such as using simple props to trace the progress from the agrarian customs of the 19th-century to the more mechanized procedures of the 20th—was common to both versions of the film.
The General Line

1st part

From agriculture to industry, Lenin – Remote places
2 brothers separate
House and land divided, poverty goes on
One among many – Marfa Lapkina
Springtime with no horse
Summer with no horse either
“One can’t live this way”

2nd part

The old ways. Procession against the drought
A cloud and a French barometer
Still no rain

3rd part
Trying the separator

It works
The money of the co-operative
Marfa’s dream
The sovkhoz

4th part

The contruction of the sponsored village
Preparations for the wedding
The bride and the groom… and their progeny
The reapers race
Chirping and humming, insects and machines

5th part

Autumn – waiting for tractors
Women are harvesting by hand (see comments)
Under the storm
Back to the bureaucrats
Marfa goes to town as a delegate
Fomka poisoned by the kulaks (see comments)
Execute the General Line
Witchcraft for Fomka (see comments)
Marfa, back from town, learns of the death of Fomka…

6th part

Speeches and music
The tractor and its driver
The tractor gets stuck
Marfa provides help and material
Demonstration of mechanical power
Riding after the convoy
More iron, more steel, more tractors


Language(s):Russian intertitles
Subtitles:English (custom), Spanish, Portuguese

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