Monday, August 02, 2010

"Earth" Review, Plus Bonus John Candy

The New Yorker film reviewer of 1930 ("J.C.M."), after pooh-pooing the trend toward larger-format films (so-called "three-dimensional films" that "fill the whole proscenium"), provides a great review of a movie that has always confused me: "Earth" by Alexander Dovzhenko (translated in this case as "Soil").
To conclude my memoirs on a lofty and dignified note, I should mention "Soil," a new Russian film. The picture is concerned with the favorite dramatic theme of the Soviet artists: the introduction of new methods of farming to the local wheatlands. Of more interest to these unusual people than the awakening of pure love or the dawn of passion is the coming of the tractor. I must say, too, that there are more persons in this town absorbed in this subject than one might suspect. Down there at that little Eighth Street house, where the picture has been shown, the crowd gets very excited, and there is applause, and even now and then a hiss... In "Soil," a silent picture, a caption was thrown on the screen, a comment of the older peasant as the tractor comes over the hilltop. "There is no God," he says at the sight, and this statement was suddenly met with applause by some of the guests. You will be happy to learn that at once the faithful downed the applause with pious hisses. The whole moment was very intense, and it was a great relief to everyone when the picture passed on to some closeups of apples seen from various angles.
I can certainly understand and appreciate most propaganda, but "Earth" left me totally confused. I couldn't figure out if it was a love song to the soil, a warning to farmers, or an outright parody. Maybe it was all three?

You can hardly say the same about "Hey Giorgy!" This was one of several hilarious SCTV spoofs of Russian television.

Giorgy! If he's not helping somebody, he's helping somebody else! Featuring a bevy of Eastern European immigrants waving at John Candy somewhere in North York.


Unknown said...

Ooh, I love SCTV, great clip!

Gary said...

Nice hat!

But I don't remember the character - must've been a l-o-n-g time ago!

Adam Thornton said...

There is ALWAYS an opportunity for a bit of SCTV!

Giorgy was only in one SCTV episode (where the Soviets hijacked the SCTV satellite and broadcast their own shows, including "What Fits Into Russia" and the debut of the new refrigerator-sized Soviet "mini-cam.")

tanzi said...

Where the hell was Giogry when I needed him???