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Directed by Alexander Dovzhenko
Written by Maike "Mike" Johansen
Yurtyk (Yuri Tiutiunnyk)
Alexander Dovzhenko
Starring Semyon Svashenko
Nikolai Nademsky
Georgi Astafyev
Les Podorozhnij
Cinematography Boris Zavelev
Edited by Alexander Dovzhenko
Distributed by Mosfilm
Release date
  • April 13, 1928 (1928-04-13)
Running time
91 min.
Country Soviet Union
Language silent film
Russian intertitles

Zvenigora (Russian: Звeнигopа) is a 1928 Soviet silent film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko, first shown on April 13, 1928.[2] This was the fourth film by Dovzhenko, but the first one which was widely reviewed and discussed in the media. This was also the last film by Dovzhenko for which he was not the sole scriptwriter.


The script was originally written by Maike "Mike" Johansen and Yurtyk (Yuri Tiutiunnyk), but eventually Dovzhenko heavily rewrote the script himself and removed Johansen and Tyutyunnyk's names from the screenplay and did not include them in the film credits.[2] Pavlo Nechesa, head of the Odessa film studio VUFKU (Ukrainian: Одеська кінфабрика ВУФКУ) recalls: ″We were discussing the screenplay for Zvenigora … Almost everyone was against the script … Dovzhento said ″I’ll take and make …″. As a project, Zvenigora got its start in June 1927.[3]


Regarded as a silent revolutionary epic, Dovzhenko's initial film in his Ukraine Trilogy (along with Arsenal and Earth) is almost religious in tone, relating a millennium of Ukrainian history through the story of an old man who tells his grandson about a treasure buried in a mountain. The film mixes fiction and reality. Although Dovzhenko referred to Zvenigora as his "party membership card",[2] the relationship between the individual and nature is the main theme of the film, which is highly atypical of the Soviet cinema of the end of the 1920s and its avant-garde influences. Dovzhenko states that full submission to nature[clarification needed] made humanity powerless in the face of nature, and understanding and control of nature is required to make progress. For him, the October Revolution brought about such an understanding.[4]


At the time of release, the film was widely reviewed in the press but generally regarded as not conforming with Soviet aesthetics. In 1927, even before the film's release, the newspaper Kino (Cinema) sharply criticized the screenplay, calling it "bourgeois" and "nationalistic".[2]

In the 2012 Sight & Sound Director's Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time, Guy Maddin placed it on his top ten list, describing the film as "mind-bogglingly eccentric!"[5]


  1. ^ "Національний центр Олександра Довженка". dovzhenkocentre.org. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  2. ^ a b c d Маевская, Тереза (April 13, 2011). "Звенигора, ставшая Голгофой для Александра Довженко". Комментарии. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ "УКРАЇНСЬКЕ НІМЕ / UKRAINIAN RE-VISION by Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre - issuu". issuu.com. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  4. ^ Довженко Александр Петрович (in Russian). Кирилл и Мефодий. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  5. ^ Maddin, Guy. "The Greatest Films Poll, Sight & Sound, 2012 Poll: Guy Maddin". BFI: Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. Retrieved 19 October 2015.


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