ST. JAMES THEATRE, 12 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JA
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85th anniversary of Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s film “EARTH” retrospective screening
“I want to show the death of the hero in such a way, that it makes people want to live!” said the legendary master of Ukrainian cinema Oleksandr Dovzhenko about one of the key moments of his film “Earth”. This kind of artistically meaningful paradox is a feature of the creativity of this director. The film, which was seemingly based on the traditional patriotic theme of “collectivisation” so popular in 1920s and 30s, suddenly seemed ‘dangerous’ and event ‘harmful’ to Soviet officials. In an act of ideological sabotage the film was given thirty two previews in an attempt to expose the director.
“I want to show the death of the hero in such a way, that it makes people want to live!” Oleksandr Dovzhenko
Against all odds, “Earth” was released for distribution on 8th April 1930. However 9 years later, through the efforts of the same officials it disappeared from Soviet screens, but continued on to conquer European cinema. Following a screening in Berlin about fifty reviews appeared in the press, the authors of which were thrilled.
In 1958 at the World Exhibition in Brussels this film was listed among the twelve best films of all time. After watching “Earth” the outstanding actor and director Charlie Chaplin called Dovzhenko “the one and only artist, thinker and poet, given as a present by Slavs to the world”. The French scientist Marcel Martin generally confessed that, one, who has not seen an apple in close-up in Dovzhenko’s film has never seen an apple at all.
Twenty eight years after its short-lived triumph and then sudden forced descent into oblivion, “Earth” was officially recognised in Dovzhenko’s homeland. It is important to understand this film, that it is no “instant” product of a brief historical segment of time, which can be ideologically correct, be banned and left to fade into oblivion. It is the heritage of an entire epoch of cinema, in which the master himself dictates new rules of artistic imagery, poetry and semantic paradoxes.
This screening is a part of a 2 weeks project “Ukraine Culture Today” Read more about the project here.
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Tags: ukrainian movie