Earth

Earth (Ukrainian: Земля, translit. Zemlya) is a 1930 Soviet film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko, concerning the process of collectivization and the hostility of Kulak landowners. It is Part 3 of Dovzhenko’s “Ukraine Trilogy” (along with Zvenigora and Arsenal).

Earth is regarded as Dovzhenko’s masterpiece.

Plot

The film begins with the final moments of grandfather Semyon (Simon) Opanas beneath a pear tree. Next local kulaks, including Arkhyp Bilokin, contemplate the process of collectivization and declare their resistance to it, while elsewhere Semyon’s grandson Vasyl (Basil) and his Komsomol friends also meet to discuss collectivization, although his father is skeptical.

Later, Vasyl arrives with the community’s first tractor to much excitement. After the men urinate in the overheated radiator, the peasants plow the land with the tractor and harvest the grain. A montage sequence presents the production of bread from beginning to end. That night Vasyl dances a hopak along a path on his way home, but a dark figure attacks and kills him.

Vasyl’s father turns away the Russian Orthodox priest who expects to lead the funeral, declaring his atheism. He asks Vasyl’s friends to bury his son in a new way without priests and “sing new songs for a new life.” The villagers do so, while Vasyl’s fiancée, Natalya, mourns him painfully and the local priest curses them as impious and paganist. At the cemetery, Bilokin’s son Khoma (Thomas) arrives in a frenzy to declare that he will resist collectivization and that he was the one who killed Vasyl, but the villagers pay him no attention. One declares that Vasyl’s glory will fly around the world like a new communist airplane. The film ends with a downpour of rain over fruit and vegetables.

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