Arsenal (Dovzhenko, 1929)

Arsenal (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1929)

Now here is a controversial one. Though highly regarded amongst almost everyone, I just could not find myself interested in this. I even re-watched the first 30 minutes with commentary to try to get myself to like this (which provided some useful information, but didn’t enhance the viewing for me). The cinematography and editing are fantastic; there is no doubt about that. But there was zero emotional connection for me. The film does feature a protagonist, which is more than I can say for some other similar films from this time period, but he represents ideas instead of being a human. He evoked no emotion, whether it be sympathy, anger, heartbreak, or happiness (and since there were no other reoccurring characters, I didn’t get that anywhere else either). And, yes, I need that sort of thing to really get into these propaganda movies.  6/10


3 Responses to “Arsenal (Dovzhenko, 1929)”

  1. Do you like Eisenstein’s films? I loved Strike (I found it to have an emotional impact even without main characters because of the universality of the situation)! I haven’t seen this one.

    Oh, have you seen Medvedkin’s Happiness (1935)? Happiness is a bizarre attempt to use satire — got Medvedkin in LOTS of trouble. Happiness and Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera are my favorite pieces of early Soviet Cinema…

    • Actually, Man with a Movie Camera and Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin are the two films I always refer to as technically marvelous, but emotionally dead. =)

      To be fair, I haven’t seen Strike, but I’m rarely impaced by the universality of a situation. I want to see the people.

  2. I find Vertov’s film theory to be interesting enough to give some depth (yes, not emotional) to Man with a Movie Camera — the desire to demystify film — advocating a movie camera in everyone’s house — film “newspapers” constructed from the scenes everyone takes with everyone’s own camera… I dunno.

    Well, see Happiness! It will at least be a weird experience — Soviet Satire.

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