Earth

In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.

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  • ★★★★★ review by Neil Bahadur on Letterboxd

    Such beauty....at 77 minutes in total the greatest montage of them all. And the harvesting of wheat - cinema that truly believes in the possibility of a new world.

  • ★★★★★ review by Neil Bahadur on Letterboxd

    To view as a critique is quite tempting, but it's really just an incredibly beautiful work. But it's a film as much about montage and Kuleshov-ian dialectic as it is about the difficulties of collectivization and the process of turning grain into bread. Yet, what the hell, it's just one of the most poetic films of them all. What matters most are the faces of these "actors," the faces of these people. A Cinema of Portraiture: now I understand what P. Costa meant when he told me he was thinking more of the Soviets than John Ford when he made Horse Money.

  • ★★★★★ review by Mike Thorn on Letterboxd

    There's a lot of affect-laden montage/didactic content, no doubt, but Dovzhenko brings form to the absolute forefront. For me, what lingers isn't the machinery of propaganda; instead, I remember the austere bookends, which suggest a symmetry between loss and rebirth. When Basil's father demands that his son's murderer present himself, Dovzhenko cuts to the unresponsive sky. So much of this film is built around vast, textural skies... it announces itself as something cosmic, so much more poetry than prose.

  • ★★★★ review by William Tell on Letterboxd

    Alexander Dovzhenko’s classic film Earth is a visual experience of poetical proportions and stunning aesthetics that has gained an important reputation as the decades have passed.

    Made in 1930, Stalin saw individual peasants growing rich beyond their means and vowed to eliminate what he saw as its own social class, the kulaks. His weapon was collectivization, which was to bring land back to the community; but the Soviet army met stubborn yet rightful resistance from the peasants, who were seeing their land and goods seized and distributed. Both these sides are represented in this picture, but Earth has the propagandist trait of all the Soviet films of the time, exalting the collectivization and the communist ideals much more than the opposite. And this is what makes this an uneasy film to appreciate, due to its questionable and problematic principles.

    Fortunately Dovzhenko wasn’t really interested in exploring these communist ideas, focusing his film on a much more inspiring and philosophical path. From the natural shots of waving fields to the natured fruits and the rhythmic sunflowers, and emphasizing on the power of the human face, the film’s compositions fill the frame with such organic simplicity and truthfulness, the kind of innocent poetry that sits at the heart of every human being. The exploration of the cycle of life (family, sex, childhood, death and birth/The Earth that gives life takes it away) and of the generational gap compose the larger themes that run the veins of Earth and give it the landmark stature of the seventh art. To witness this as a clear influence on subsequent masterful filmmakers such as Tarkovsky (in general), Bergman (faces), Malick (textures) and so forth is just amazing.

    Whatever downsides this film has – not just its atrocious official message, but also the outrageously artificial acting – its qualities transcend the average film, justifying just how important and influential Earth has proven to be.

    Direction: ★★★★½

    Story/Screenplay: ★★★

    Acting: ★★

    Visuals/Cinematography: ★★★★★

    Editing/Pacing: ★★★★★

    Sound/Music: ★★★★½

    Overall Rating: ★★★★

  • ★★★★ review by Owen on Letterboxd

    Some of the most haunting character filled faces you ever saw, beautifully shot and then edited together to make them seem universal.

    The scenes of delight at the news of the tractor and the anger of the priest in particular are pure cinema

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