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8.1
/10
2,260 Ratings

Earth

Земля

Directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Soviet Union, 1930
Silent, Drama

Synopsis

A tale of generations, Earth begins with the death of a grandfather, which leads to tumultuous times for his son Opanas and grandson Vasily. When wealthy landowners appropriate the land of farmers, Vasily, influenced by communism, leads a youth movement to form collectivized farming in Ukraine.

Our take

Like Battleship Potemkin, Earth was originally commissioned as propaganda, but transcends its origins as one of the most breathtaking and acclaimed achievements of the silent era. Lyrical and abstract, it captures both the beauty of nature and cinema’s ability to show images like nothing before.

Earth Directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Critics reviews

Full of surprising editing and camera angles, EARTH was a modernist film financed by the state, and it pissed off Soviet officials who thought they were funding propaganda, not poetry. Dovzhenko’s father was drubbed out of his collective farm; the attacks, Dovzhenko said, at first made him want to die. Yet this mesmerizing, hopeful vision by one of cinema’s original bards still holds out models for the future.
August 04, 2017
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Lustrous and granular, Dovzhenko’s vision is one of pantheistic juxtapositions and cycles of renewal, where cosmic concerns crack the cement of propaganda: The martyr’s corpse caressed by tree leaves, vengeful praying drowned out by cathartic choruses, the fiancé’s frantic grief yielding to the cry of the newborn. A proto-Tarkovsky downpour answers the sea of upturned faces, the miserable kulak’s (Pyotr Masokha) confession goes unheard.
September 22, 2014
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Seen today as the final work in a loose trilogy that also comprises Zvenigora (1928) and Arsenal (1929), Earth is Dovzhenko’s ultimate paean to nature, the land and those who toil on it and whose lives are inextricably bound up with it. The film is literally teeming with grandiose images of the natural world: such as the opening shots of a vast sky and rolling fields, of sunflowers and apples.
April 22, 2004
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What are people saying?

  • Diderot's rating of the film Earth

    The best political Soviet films transcend the kitsch that underpins them. There's an orgiastic quality and sensuality to this film that is at times exhilarating. But the kitsch is there as well.

  • Cid Medeiros's rating of the film Earth

    Undoubtfuly it carries a stunning and hunting photography work. It places the rise of communism in parallel with the cultural and political aspects of Ukraine's inhabitants. It depicts part of the resentment eastern Europeans hold in regard to Russia.

  • kartina obskura's rating of the film Earth

    rare are moments when life and death, joy, dance, pain and tragedy feel so intense and extreme in a very same. vasiliy's walk was one of those moments. (and how long it was? 1 minute or 2? it could be a century, too) like the Soul spread all varieties of its boundless volume.

  • wolfmansRazor's rating of the film Earth

    Dovzhenko's ecstatic, pulsing montage is still incredibly rousing even when the specific content of the film seems almost unfathomable to an American audience. The kulaks are bad guys because they own property? A priest is shunned for offering funeral services? People are this excited about a tractor? I loved the film, but I can't overlook that it's propaganda for a policy that killed millions of people.

  • reiter's rating of the film Earth

    The work that has been inspiring poetic cinema since 1930. The film made me take a look at the history of Ukraine in the way Dovzhenko wanted I guess. Soviet called it propaganda, but the real master shows more than that and it's all about reading between the lines. Masterpiece.

  • Canaletto's rating of the film Earth

    Tuve el honor de verla como parte del famoso Festival Internacional de Jazz acompañada en vivo por un trío (piano, guitarra electrica y sax), sobra decir que fue una experiencia inolvidable, que Potemkin ni que mis huevos.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Earth

    An indelible influence on Tarkovsky, Parajanov and Klimov, Dovzhenko's masterpiece is both a political ode to collectivization and an unparalleled hymn to nature's plenitude. One can only consider the final scenes of the dewdrops on the fruits' surface or the extreme close-ups on the seeds or the Ozu-esque minimalism of the long shots; stunning is also the sequence of the nude woman's fit of despair. Epoch-making!

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Earth

    Yes, there's a lot of propaganda in this film. But it also contains a lot of breathtaking sequences, e.g. the dissolution of objects into abstract shapes and patterns during the harvest, the dream-like night sequence, and the funeral procession. Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov's score for this silent film is noteworthy because it uses stylistic features from the 1920s and combines it with avantgardistic means of expression.

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