Worksheet 14 -- Bolshevik Revolution and the Cinema

Worksheet 14 -- Bolshevik Revolution and the Cinema -...

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Unformatted text preview: Worksheet 14 - Film History Professor Rohdie (UCF) Aleksandr Dovzhenko, like Aleksandr Medvedkin, came from a peasant background. Both supported the Bolshevik Revolution and both remained loyal Communists during the whole of Stalinism continuing to make lms despite facing sometimes extreme criticism and censor- ship. Dovzhenko was from the Ukraine. Historically, there was and continues to be tensions between Ukrainian nationalism (it has its own culture, language, literature and art) and the Soviet Union and later Russia from which the Ukraine became independent in 1991. In the early 1920s, Dovzhenko was associated with a Ukrainian literary organisation, VAPLITE (Free Academy of Proletarian Literature) that promoted Ukrainian cultural autonomy causing it to became a target for Bolshevik denunciations ("intolerable nationalism") and ultimately re- sulted in its comoplete suppression. Dovzhenko is best known for a trilogy of lms set in the Ukraine and made for the Ukrainian Photo-Film Administration, VUFKU: Zvenigora (1928), Arsenal (1929) and Earth (1930). The three lms bring together historical events related to the Revolution in the case of the rst lm, the Civil War in the case of the second and State policies with regard to Earth . In all the lms there is a mix of elements speci c to the Ukraine (folktales, national history, economic conditions) and general elements that concerned the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik party and Revolution. One way of considering the lms is in terms of the impact of the Revolution on the national culture of the Ukraine. Earth, made in 1929, but premiered in 1930, is set in a rural village in the Ukraine during the period of the rst Soviet Five Year Plan under Stalin, a plan for rapid industrialisation and the modernisa- tion of the Soviet economy, an essentially agricultural country that had experienced not only a Revolution, but war, civil war and foreign invasion. (There are traces of the consequences of the Five Year Plan in Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera made in 1929 and his Three Songs About Lenin made in 1934.) Part of the Five Year Plan concentrated on the need for increased agricultural production that, it was believed, would be accomplished by collectivisation of the land, that is, by putting an end to private ownership by farmers while grouping individual farms into State collec- tives (the Kolkhoz). The policy was not greeted with enthusiasm by farmers, least of all by the most wealthy (kulaks). At the end of 1929, the policy of collectivisation became in practice one of repres- sion directed against the kulaks (deportation, executions, con scations of property, forced labour)...
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course FIL 3036 taught by Professor Rohdie during the Fall '09 term at University of Central Florida.

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Worksheet 14 -- Bolshevik Revolution and the Cinema -...

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