The General Line
(Staroye i novoye), (The Old and the New)
Marfa Lapkina, Vasili Buzenkov, Konstantin Vasiliev,
Eisenstein’s first contemporary, rural subject, The General Line tells of a peasant woman’s struggle against superstition, hostility, and greed in her attempt to form a collective and bring to it a bull, a cream separator, and a tractor. This is Eisenstein’s “Russian Gothic,” populated with wonderful types and filled with humor and earthy imagery. It boasts a cream-separator spectacle to rival Busby Berkeley, wheat fields worthy of Tolstoy, and marvelous antibureaucratic satire on the level of the Russian Eccentrics. Our print is a partial restoration of the director’s cut, with the title and ending as they were before Stalin called for a re-edit.