As she works in her tedious office job, Maria Ivanovna dreams about being married, and she has particular hopes that her co-worker Nikodim Mityushin will take an interest in her. Nikodim, though, is in love with Zina, who sells cigarettes on the sidewalk, and he frequently buys cigarettes from her even though he does not smoke. One day, a film crew uses Zina as an extra in an outdoor scene, and the cameraman, Latugin, falls in love with her. Latugin soon arranges an acting job for Zina. To complicate matters further, Zina has yet another admirer in Oliver MacBride, an American businessman who is visiting Moscow.Read More »
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 WalkerRead More »
Drama1931-1940Aleksandr DovzhenkoUSSRYuliya Solntseva
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 »
A young Russian woman asks a Red Army soldier to spend the night with her in the wake of the Nazi invasion. Fearing she may soon perish, the woman hopes for one night of romance before what could be a horrible demise. Black-and-white photography is mixed with color as moods change in the film. Women are captured and sent off to concentration camps or to work in brothels for the pleasure of the sadistic Germans. A Russian woman places a noose around her own neck rather than let a Nazi touch her. Some of the victims manage to escape and they try to return to their war-torn home in the Ukraine to join the defense.Read More »
Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky – Papirosnitsa ot Mosselproma aka The cigarette girl of Mosselprom [+Extras] (1924)Comedy1921-1930SilentUSSRYuri Zhelyabuzhsky
Though many casual film fans are of the opinion that the Russian silent cinema began and ended with Montage and Propaganda, several charming romantic comedies and dramas emanated from the Soviet film industry of the 1920s. The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom tells the tale of a young man who falls in love with the title character (Yulia Solnsteva). She becomes a famous film star, and herself falls in love–not with the hero, but with her cameraman. No one ever gets what he or she truly wants in the story, though they continue to pursue their lost dreams to the bitter end. Revelling in The Unexpected throughout, Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom is capped by an adroit surprise ending. (Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide)
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1951-1960Aleksandr DovzhenkoDramaUSSRYuliya Solntseva
This is a movie-poem with philosophic and lyric contemplations about the construction of Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station, closure of the Dnieper, creation of Kakhovskoye Sea and also about human destinies involved in this great overturn of the region’s life. The action takes place in 1956-57. To the farm chairman’s call the people born in the village located near the Dniepr river that is to be flooded come to say good-buy to their birthplace. It is very hard for the senior generation to destroy their native houses and demolish the gardens as their memories of happy peaceful life and of the dreadful war are associated with them. The young people on the contrary smash down everything old with enthusiasm being sure that it brings nearer the bright future. Spring waters of the Dniepr are out and the Ukrainian village sinks to the bottom of the new Kakhovskoye Sea…
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Directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made on Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel of the same name.
The Marxist struggle reaches outer space in this fanciful Russian science fiction film from the silent period. Los (Nikolai Tsereteli) is an engineer who dreams of traveling to other worlds and imagines that a beautiful woman named Aelita (Yuliya Solntseva) lives on the planet Mars. Frustrated with the petty political conflicts that are a big part of life on Earth, Los builds a spaceship and travels to Mars, where he discovers that the lovely Aelita really does exist and is Queen of the Planet. However, the realities of political struggle do not escape him; it seems that the Martian proletariat are attempting to rise up and take power just as the Russian rank and file did, and Los once again finds himself standing between the ruling leadership and the workers attempting to take control of their own lives.
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