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Zemlya (Earth)

Posted by martinteller on August 4, 2007

I like some Soviet cinema, but I also think a lot of it is rather overrated.  Unfortunately this belongs to the latter group.  Besides some occasional nice imagery and fairly innovative cutting techniques, I found very little of merit here.  The propaganda was thick, the story was dull as dirt (woohoo, a tractor!) and the characters were very one-dimensional.  It was actually better when they left the plot by the wayside and just had the montages of harvesting grain and whatnot.  Rating: 6

IMDb

 

Shakhmatnaya Goryachka (Chess Fever)  – Also on the Earth DVD, this was a really funny and clever little short.  It’s about chess mania gripping the populace, focusing in particular on this Harold Lloyd-ish character and his bride-to-be.  Lots of fun.  Rating: 7

 

Konets Sankt-Peterburga (The End of St. Petersburg) – This one was clearly the best on the disc.  I can’t comment on its effectiveness as a propaganda piece, especially because there were times when I wasn’t quite sure who I was meant to be rooting for.  But the camerawork is fantastic, with montages and compositions that rival the best work of Eisenstein.  The narrative, although occasionally confusing, was strong and the actors didn’t ham it up too much.   Amazing battle scenes as well.  Rating: 8

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