Sunday, December 10, 2000

Alexander Dovzhenko’s Arsenal

San Francisco Art Institute

Ukrainian Alexander Dovzhenko was part of a group of Soviet filmmakers during the 1920s (also including Kuleshov, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and Vertov) whose theory and practice radically transformed the language of narrative cinema. Dovzhenko was throughout his life a practicing poet, and his films, whose subjects range from ancient folk myths to post-Revolutionary history, are imbued with a remarkable hallucinatory visual quality and a deep feeling for the physical and emotional character of Soviet life. Tonight is the first in a series surveying this early pioneer’s greatest achievements. Arsenal (1929) is a powerful account of the Ukraine from World War I through the February and October revolutions which climaxes with the suppression of a worker’s revolt in 1918. (S. Anker)