Thursday, December 10, 2009

49. Zemlya/Earth (1930)

Running Time: 71 minutes
Directed By: Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Written By: Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Main Cast: Stephan Shkurat, Semyon Svashenko, Yuliya Solntseva, Yelena Maksimova


I must say that it is quite nice to be back on the 'ol Blogger, clicking away at the keys and giving my opinions on yet another one of Mr. Schneider's "1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die". Eventhough "Earth" didn't do a whole lot for me, but it's so good to be back on this project.

In the same vein as Eisenstein's work, that I've previously viewed "Earth" seems to me something more suited for the people in which it portrays, in this case Soviet farmers. The cinematography, however, is quite excellent, as we're treated to immaculate views of swaying wheat fields, ripening fruits and sunflowers growing in throughout the fields. Unfortunately the appearance of glistening crops wasn't enough, for me to enjoy this film enough to label it as a "Must See".

The arrival of one of the newest, fanciest tools to the local village, the tractor, is welcomed with open arms, as the townspeople begin to envision how much better and easier their lives are going to be with this impressive new machine that puts the oxen and plow to shame. However, things aren't so rosey, as the film turns the focus to other issues, such as death, violence and sex, as it relates to the farming community.

There's really not a whole lot that I can say about "Earth" as it just left me bored, and really wanting to move on to something else. As I mentioned above the photography is excellent, but that's just not enough to sway my opinion of this film into a positive direction. There are a few key scenes that were also quite interesting to me, such as the opening bit, when a dying man assures his friend, that if he's able he'll surely report back to him about the afterlife. A touching scene, but again not enough for me to give this film a thumbs up or even in the middle for that matter.

RATING: 1.5/10 We'll chalk up the short review to writer's rust and hopefully our next movie can enthrall me enough to get a higher rating.

NEXT UP: Little Caesar...A 1930's gangster flick, for which I have high hopes for. We shall see!

December 10, 2009 5:13pm

1 comment:

  1. I've at last caught up with this one. In the past I've somewhat defended these early soviet Propagander films - not entirely, but I've liked them a bit more than you have.. but I'm afraid I have by now seen enough thank you. As a gnre early Soviet films can be good.. but there are perhaps at least a couple too many in the rundown. Whilst loveing the imagery.. all that waveing corn is beautifuly shot.. all the cliches tire rapidly. Do brave old peasants really die so sereenly as that? No, sorry.
    'Earth perhaps leaves a bitter taste when viewed with hindsight (not a fair thing to do). Collectivisation resulted in mass starvation, killing millions, and to see it celebrated feels, somehow, not quite right... But as I can appreciate bits from Leni Riefensthall or 'Birth of a Nation' as cinematic art whilst realising their unpleasant undertones, I should cut it some slack.


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