Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – Zemlya AKA Earth [84 min.] (1930)

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.—Jeff Walker Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – The Cultural Heritage [Disc 6] (1940 – 1945)

Osvobozhdeniye AKA Liberation

Liberation features events of the Soviet occupation of western Ukraine, at the time a part of Poland, after the out-break of the Second World War in September 1939. Following official Soviet historiography, the film presents the annexation of Western Ukraine, the result of the Nazi-Bolshevik partition of Poland, as the historic act of “reunification of all Ukrainian lands into one Soviet-Ukrainian state.” Scenes include: a Hutsul village public meeting addressed by Dovzhenko himself; the opening of the People’s Assembly of Western Ukraine in L’viv, October 26th, 1939; the opening of the People’s Assembly in Bialystok; adoption of the act of reunification of Western Ukraine with the Ukrainian SSR by the Ukrainian Soviet Parliament in Kyiv and by the Supreme Soviet in Moscow. Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – The Cultural Heritage [Disc 7] (1948 – 1949)

Michurin aka Life in Bloom
The film is about the life and work of the prominent Russian biologist Ivan Michurin. Reports of gardener-Michurin’s extraordinary experiments with plants reach far beyond the borders of the Russian empire. Trying to persuade him to move to the United States, a group of Americans comes to the village where Michurin lives. They promise him all kinds of benefits. But Michurin, despite his lack of recognition by the government, is devoted to Russia. Overcoming obstacles created by the tsarist bureaucracy, the scientist continues with his experiments on natural selection and dreams of the time when all people will be able to take full advantage of his achievements. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 makes his dreams come true and Michurin’s orchard in Kozlov becomes a center of Soviet experimental biology.
Awards. Stalin National Prize of the Second Degree, 1949. The Labor Prize at the Gottwaldov (now Zlin) Film Festival, Czechoslovakia, 1949. Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – Ivan, Aerograd aka Frontier (The Cultural Heritage) [Disc 4] (1932 – 1935)

Ivan (1932)
Cinemapoem about building of Dniproges (Dnieper Hydroelectric Station), about the fate of rural fellow which comes together with other boys and girls to build one of most buildings of socialist industrial construction. Narrates the language of the poetic cinema of O. Dovzhenko about the process of alteration of consciousness of rural fellow due to industrialization.
Recipient of an award on ICF in Venice in 1934. Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Yuliya Solntseva – Shchors AKA Shors (The Cultural Heritage) [Disc 5] (1939)

The year is 1919. German troops retreat from Ukraine. The Directory, the Ukrainian national government lead by Symon Petliura, takes control of Kyiv. Meanwhile, the Bolshevik division commanded by Mykola Shchors is marching on the capital. The Bolsheviks capture the cities of Vinnytsia, Zhmerynka, and others one by one, but lose Berdychiv to Petliura’s forces. They are demoralized by the defeat. By his personal example of courage and military skill, Shchors inspires the retreating Red troops and leads them to victory over the enemy. Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – The Cultural Heritage [Disc 1] (1926 – 1928)

Love’s Berries 1926
The mistress of hairdresser Jean Kovbasyuk throws a baby up to him. Jean decides in any method to be delivered from a “natural” child…Getting a call to the judicial investigator, Kovbasyuk is given up to search a child. A mistress labours for in the court of people’s “justice”. However much it turns out after registration of marriage, that Jean and in actual fact was not the father of child. But lately… Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – Arsenal (The Cultural Heritage) [Disc 2] (1928)

In Arsenal, Alexander Dovzhenko, perhaps the most radical of the Soviet directors of the silent period, altered the already extended conventions of cinematic structure to a degree greater than had even the innovative Sergei Eisenstein in his bold October. The effect of this tinkering with the more or less accepted proprieties of motion picture construction produced a work that is actually less a film than it is a highly symbolic visual poem. For example, in a more linearly structured piece like October, the metaphors, allusions, and analogies that arise through the construction of the various montages replace rather than comment on essential actions within the film. In Arsenal, however, the symbolism is so purposely esoteric, with seemingly deliberate barriers established to block the viewer’s perception, that the relationship of individual symbols or sequences to the various actions of the film is not immediately clear. Read More »