Reviews of Movies about Ukraine

I love watching movies about the Ukraine. Here is a classic that is well worth watching.

Earth - Aleksandr Dovzhenko 1930
Earth was supposed to be a Russian propaganda film promoting collectivism. Instead, Aleksandr wrote a love story extolling the beauty of the Ukrainian countryside and promoting the cycle of life and death there amidst the natural beauty and plentiful bounty of nature.

You can see the basic outline that the Russians wanted. Backwards farmers resist tractors coming in to make their life better. Rich landowners are upset at upstart farmers coveting their lands. But look beyond that, to the way the people interact, to the straw-roofed houses, the dancing, the fields of wheat, the love of the land. Appreciate the beautiful way in which the film was done, capturing a series of picture-perfect scenes that would be gorgeous if framed and hung on a wall.

This is definitely a movie to savor and to appreciate the lush landscape that was pre-Stalin Ukraine. I was fortunate enough to watch Earth with my parents and both sets of my godparents, and tape recorded their commentary to it. For me, that commentary will serve far better than the default musical soundtrack that comes with the film.

Note that we were sort of surprised by the scenes of husbands' hands on their wives' breasts, but apparently Aleksandr uses this kind of "fertility" symbolism in several of his films.

Transcript of the Commentary


Main Ukrainian Heritage Page