Alexander Dovzhenko's Cinematic Visions

  • George O. Liber


DEATH, BIRTH ORDER AND ALEXANDER DOVZHENKO'S CINEMATIC VISIONS "What man shall live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?" -- Psalms 89: 48 ALEXANDER Dovzhenko (1894-1956), one of the pioneers of Soviet filmmaking in the 1920s, created a cinematic universe with three types of death. His villains died "grotesquely," but his heroes experienced "beautiful deaths, without suffering."(1) The filmmaker considered only one type of death an absolute evil: the "senseless death", a category which included "the victims of war."(2) But for Dovzhenko, the loss of life in his films never became the final conclusion. As exemplified by the grandfather's death scene in Earth, dying constituted an integral part of the great chain of life.(3) Dovzhenko created these interpretations specifically for the screen. His treatment of death did not express his true reaction to the end of life,...