Ukraine in Flames/Victory In Soviet Ukraine: Restored Special Two Disc DVD Edition
Produced as the Red Army swept across Ukraine in 1943-44, Ukraine in Flames and Victory in Soviet Ukraine are among World War 2's most unusual documentaries. Drawing upon footage from 24 Soviet cameramen, and made under the guidance of Soviet director Alexander Dovzhenko, they capture the Eastern Front in wide-angle as well as searingly personal dimensions. Combining Dovzhenko's visual lyricism with the deeply felt eloquence of his commentary, they stand among the director's greatest works.
These DVD restorations make available, for the first time since their wartime Soviet release, Dovzhenko's original, uncut versions. Digitally restored from original 35mm lavender prints, they also offer new translations of Dovzhenko's vividly poetic narration, never before available to English-speaking audiences.
Part I: Ukraine in Flames (1943)
An impassioned account of "how the steppes were sowed with rage," Dovzhenko's film ranges across Ukraine's forests and plains, chronicling the horrors of German invasion and the gathering forces of Ukrainian resistance. In scenes that recall the director's masterpiece Earth, peasants newly delivered from German occupation rebuild their lives, sowing grain across fields freshly cleared of corpses, as surviving peasant women speak bitterly of the crimes committed by Nazi occupiers. Praised by film scholar Jay Leyda as "an astonishingly personal movie...an inspiration to every artist who works in the documentary film," Ukraine in Flames shows the faces of war rarely seen.
Part II: Victory in Soviet Ukraine (1944)
Terror and triumph on the Eastern Front, as Dovzhenko's cameras capture the Red Army on the offensive. As German forces retreat, fierce combat scenes give way to harrowing revelations – among them the mass graves uncovered at Babi Yar – in regions newly freed from German control. Speaking before electrified crowds in Kiev's center, General Zhukov displays, as seen nowhere else on film, his trademark charisma and exhortative powers. A work of passionate patriotism, Dovzhenko's film also clearly rebukes Stalin – here conspicuously missing in action – for which the director paid dearly. Directed by Alexander Dovshenko & Yuliya Solntseva.
Ukraine Battle Footage Shown:
Part 1: Ukraine in Flames
Battles of Lvov, Odessa, and Kiev
Part 2: Victory in Soviet Ukraine
Battles of Kharkov, Polesye, Zaporozhye, Zvenigorodka, Lysyanka, Tornopol, Prosnikov, Korsun, Shechenkovsky, Korosten, Zhitomir, Kiev, Odessa, and Lvov.
- 5 Historical Slideshows:
- Between Kiev & Moscow: The Career of Alexander Dovzhenko
- Soviet Cinema in the Great Patriotic War
- Historical Background
- Soviet Propaganda Posters
- Interactive Scene Selections
- Switchable English Voice-Over Soundtrack or Original Russian with Optional English Subtitles
- Digitally Restored from Original 35 MM Lavender Film Prints.
USSR, 1943/44 (2 DVD Box Set) Part 1: 76 minutes; Part 2: 65 minutes. Digitally Restored from original 35mm Lavender prints, possibly the highest quality film elements known to exist.
An explanation about the titles: Ukraine in Flames and Victory in Soviet Ukraine are the titles these films became known as in English. The original Russian titles (translated into English) conveyed by the films’ opening credits are respectively:
The Battle For Our Soviet Ukraine in the Unforgettable Difficult Years of the Great Patriotic War and
Victory in the Western Ukraine: An Expulsion of the German Aggressors Beyond the Borders of the Soviet Ukraine.
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)
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Libraries and Institutions Please Note: Educational Editions with PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS and DIGITAL SITE LICENSES are available.
REVIEW: Alexander Dovzhenko, best known for several classics of Soviet silent cinema (Zvenigora, Arsenal, Earth) turned to the documentary to record the course of war in his native Ukraine, 1943-1944. This two-disc DVD, digitally remastered from the original prints, is a valuable contribution to the film history of WWII's Eastern Front, or what the Soviets called "The Great Patriotic War." Dovzhenko assembled material shot by two dozen cameramen at the front and also integrated captured German footage. One highlight: a self-satisfied Marshall Goering turns up in elegant whites for a look at things in conquered territory. The conquest was short-lived as the conquerors-"German scum" in Dovzhenko's script-are shown in full, very graphic, bloody retreat before the advancing Red Army across the Ukrainian steppe to the Carpathian Mountains. The over-heated English narrator of Dovzhenko's hortatory script is silenced over long sequences when Soviet big guns, howitzers, and the fear-some Katiushas do the talking. Victory speeches by Ukraine's political boss, Nikita Khrushchev, and by others, never fail to hail Stalin, but Dovzhenko got into trouble for too much Ukrainian national feeling and not enough of the Great Leader. Background information like this is part of the rewarding bonus material in ment, in the set. Some correctives are not amiss - how, for example, many Ukrainians with memories of forced collectivization and famine welcomed the Germans as "liberators." Dovzhenko, in keeping with long-lasting Soviet practice, describes the thousands of massacred victims at Babi Yar as "unfortunate citizens," omitting that they were Jews. (An International Historic Films DVD release, www.IHFfilm.com)- by Louis Menashe, CINEASTE Magazine, Summer 2012