Copresented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

  • Judith Rosenberg
    On Piano

Semen Svashenko, Stepan Shkurat, Yuliya Solntseva,

Earth unfolds in cinematic space; there is a mad logic to its imagery, like the mad dance of its hero, Vasyl, down the moonlit road to his death. Each startling image is precisely linked to the others, much as the peasants it portrays are linked through their shared passions, miseries, and mysteries. This is how Oleksandr Dovzhenko tells a story—a rather simple one of Ukrainian villagers coming to terms with collective farming against the brutal resistance of the kulaks and the more subtle resistance of tradition. In addition to the Dovzhenko catalog of earthly symbols, which here reach an apotheosis, there is a daring poetry to the treatment of people and animals alike. A horse is made to “talk”; a grieving young widow wails, naked, totally exposed. The cycle of death in life, expressed in the horizontal attitude of a dying man at absolute peace, looks forward to the similarly serene surrealism of moments in The Story of the Flaming Years. Earth is at once Dovzhenko’s most experimental and cohesive film, his last silent, and, for most, his masterpiece.

—Judy Bloch

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  • Oleksandr Dovzhenko
  • Danylo Demutsky
  • Silent
  • with English intertitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • Silent
  • 79 mins
  • 18fps
Additional Info
  • Oleksandr Dovzhenko was assisted by Yuliya Solntseva