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Dovzhenko: War Trilogy [DVD] 
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Alexander Dovzhenko is regarded by some to be "the most neglected major film-maker of the 20th Century". Mr. Bongo's box-set presents his three major works in a single boxset. When placed together, they chronicle Ukraine s tumultuous transformation from a pastoral, traditional, society into a modern communist state.
Alexander Dovzhenko's unconventional vision and experimental style remained rooted in his love for his native Ukraine; its culture and its people. Zvenigora, his first major film, is also his most joyous work, immediately hailed as a masterpiece by Sergei Eisenstein and V. I. Pudovkin.
A "white hot war film" in Jonathan Rosenbaum's words, Arsenal is placed alongside Battleship Potemkin as the great revolutionary masterpiece of Soviet cinema. It s famous for its frank depiction of violence and its aggressive vision of the impact of modern warfare on a landscape rich in centuries of tradition.
Earth has remained Dovzhenko's most famous work, a vital influence on the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Parajanov and artists around the world. This tale of generation conflict between traditional and modern Ukraine contains some of the most beautiful and unforgettable images in film history.
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Whilst the quality of the individual films is undeniable, by those who know and seen them and which individually I review under their separate titles but surmise as 4.5 stars for Arsenal and 4 for Zvenigora, with 5 for the undeniable classic Earth - this can be an expensive purchase, especially if you want to consider that two of these films lasts over an hour and a quarter and even the longest, Arsenal (restored in 1972) can't even quite muster 90 minutes.
Not having owned any of the DVDs separately before, as either Mr Bongo releases or otherwise, it's impossible to compare directly, but these come in slimline cases and seemingly, no extras. These then fit very snuggly into a flimsy, very thin card outer case which undoubtedly will get tired and dog-eared quickly. Specially as when all the cases are in, removing one is really difficult! the clear plastic DVD case coverings seeming to grip to its neighbour. In the frustration of wanting to remove one in a hurry, the outer card will suffer.
There is a detailed summary of each movie, on the reverse, in the colour code assigned to that film. Green for Zvenigora, yellow for Earth and red for Arsenal. The former two are quite easy to read, whilst small as the colour contrast against the black is good, but the dark red on black of Arsenal will have you having to put the lights on, just to see it, let alone read it. As many viewers will be older individuals, they may find this annoying. The film credits, though are even smaller, but in white.Read more ›
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NOTE ON FORMAT: As others has noted here, while this is Region 1, it's in PAL format so it won't play on a U.S. DVD player. I had this same issue with another DVD from the producer, Mr. Bongo Films. I played these discs on my laptop, which I connected to my TV. In essence, I was using my TV as a big computer monitor. It worked fine, and while it was inconvenient, it was worth it for these films.
Beautiful music and extremely underrated.
To use Semyon Svashenko as the lead actor (or pivotal) character and model (Ukrainian) Soviet citizen in all three was genius on Aleksandr Dovzehnko's part. Soviet film buffs will definitely see how Dovzhenko influenced Andrei Tarkovskiy and later Soviet film as a whole.
These are towering films, full of trail-blazing technique and deep human emotion. I like them better than (don't hate me) Eisenstein for instance.