Earth/End of St. Petersburg/Chess Fever [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Konets Sankt-Peterburga
Filmed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution, End of St. Petersburg was the second feature-length effort of director V. I. Pudovkin. Utilizing many of the montage techniques popularized by his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, Pudovkin details the fall of St. Petersburg into the hands of the Bolsheviks during the revolution. Unlike Eisenstein, Pudovkin concentrates on individuals rather than groups (his protagonist is a politically awakened peasant played by Ivan Chuvelyov) humanizing what might otherwise have been a prosaic historical piece. The mob scenes, though obviously staged for ultimate dramatic impact, are so persuasive that they have frequently been excerpted for documentaries about the Russian Revolution, and accepted by some impressionable viewers as the real thing. Filmed just after his 1926 masterwork Mother, The End of St. Petersburg was followed by the equally brilliant Storm Over Asia. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Shakhmatnaya Goryachka
Though not his first film, Russian director/cinema theorist V. I. Pudovkin's Chess Fever (Shakhmatanya goryachka) was the first to be released. Essentially a comedy, this 2-reel exercise in montage manages to make the game of chess seem thoroughly cinematic. Illustrating his theory that "The foundation of film art is editing", Pudovkin uses apparently unrelated images to fashion a smooth, well-integrated unified whole. He goes so far as to rabbet in shots of legendary chess master Capablanca so that his film will have a "star". Chess Fever was but a prologue for the Pudovkin masterpieces to come: Mother (1926), The End of St. Petersburg (1927) and Storm Over Asia (1928). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Earth
Earth (AKA Zemlya) is the third of Soviet director Alexander Dovzhenko's "Ukraine tetralogy" (Zvenigora (1928), Arsenal (1929), and Ivan (1932) are the other films in the series). The story tells of a group of farmers in a Ukrainian village, who unite to purchase a tractor. The leader of the peasants is later killed by a kulak, or landowner, who dislikes any form of united front that might pose a threat to his long-established authority. The events fade into memory, but the long-ranging effects of the peasant "revolt"--like the Earth itself--last forever. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Alexander Chistyakov - A worker
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    Vera Baranovskaya - His wife
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    Ivan Chuvelev - Peasant boy
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    Nikolai Khmelev
  • Vsevolod Pudovkin
    Vsevolod Pudovkin - German Officer
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