Black and White Movie Night: The General Line (Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov, 1929)

Sunday 13 February 2022, Black and White Movie Night: The General Line, also known as Old and New, by Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov, 1929, 121 minutes. Doors open at 19:30, Film starts at 20:00.

100.000.000 peasants – illiterate, poor, hungry. There comes a day when one woman decides that she can live old life no longer. Using ways of new Soviet state and industrial progress she changes life and labor of her village. A young peasant woman (Marfa played by Marfa Lapkina) is striving for collectivization of farming in her village. In so doing she is confronted with resistance of the older farmers.
The General Line was begun in 1927 as a celebration of the collectivization of agriculture, as championed by old-line Bolshevik Leon Trotsky. Hoping to reach a wide audience, the director forsook his usual practice of emphasizing groups by concentrating on a single rural heroine. Eisenstein briefly abandoned this project to film October: Ten Days That Shook the World, in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. By the time he was able to return to this film, the Party’s attitudes had changed and Trotsky had fallen from grace. As a result, the film was hastily re-edited and sent out in 1929 under a new title, The Old and the New. In later years, archivists restored The General Line to an approximation of Eisenstein’s original concept. Much of the director’s montage-like imagery—such as using simple props to trace the progress from the agrarian customs of the 19th-century to the more mechanized procedures of the 20th—was common to both versions of the film.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to screen a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net