Earth (Dovzhenko, 1930) DVD
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Directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Produced in 1930
Main Language - Silent
Doug Cummings is entranced by Dovzhenko’s silent film poem - a profoundly elemental hymn to nature, community and hard work. And now it looks better than ever.
Alexander Dovzhenko is a major filmmaker of early Soviet cinema, but his work remains poorly distributed, often in sub-par video transfers. Mr. Bongo Film’s stunning new DVD of Dovzhenko’s Earth (1930) - one of the most indelible and moving of silent films - takes a firm step forward in rectifying the situation. With its fully restored image, correct framing and running time, and newly recorded score, this rhapsodic masterwork comes to life like never before.
Filmed in the Ukranian wheat fields during the turbulent days of Soviet collectivization (when wealthy farmers were marked as capitalist exploiters), it’s a soaring hymn to nature, community, and hard work. The son of Ukranian peasants himself, Dovzhenko infuses his images (criticized at the time for their pictorial beauty and timelessness) and robust montage sequence with a personal intensity; Earth offers the cinema’s most alluring landscapes this side of Terrence Malick or Andrei Tarkovsky, who once said of the film: 'I have not stopped watching [it] over and over again to this day… Dovzhenko had obviously understood wherein the sense of life resides.'
A visually stunning masterpiece, Alexander Dovzhenko's Earth was commissioned to promote the collectivisation of the Soviet rural economy, but its story of rural prosperity through technical progress takes a back seat to the incredible images that fill the screen in this great film poem, which is as much a paean to a pagan past as a depiction of the march of progress.
Publisher: Mr Bongo
Length: 78 mins
Cat No: MRBDVD025
Format: DVD B&W