A. Gershtein & T.Lahusen
“Vorotechki” and “Molodost'” by Ivan Kupala.
20 minutes; color; Russian with English subtitles; digital video; Canada, 2008.
А film on gender, violence and memory. In the fall of 1929, Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union embarked on a violent drive for “wholesale collectivization.” The peasantry was expected to end centuries of traditional, small-scale, strip farming and enter into large-scale, theoretically mechanized, collective farms overnight. Brigades of volunteers, police, justice officials, state officials, secret police forces, and units of the red army descended on villages to “drag the peasantry into the modern age.” The collectivizers confiscated peasant livestock, seized all the remaining grain in barns, hidden in trunks, and under floorboards. Brigade members evicted peasant from their homes and, left families standing, literally, naked in the street. Women who resisted were dragged by their braids around the village. Between the 22nd and 28th of February, several thousand peasants from twenty villages in Pitelino rose up against the forces of collectivization. Unrest began in the village of Veriaevo and quickly spread to the neighboring villages of Gridino and Pyot. Peasants chased the collectivizers from their villages, resettled the dispossessed in their homes, and took back their livestock. Women were in the forefront of unrest. It took secret police and red army units well into March to crush the uprising. In the summer of 2004 and 2005 the filmmakers traveled to the villages of Pyot, Gridino and Veriaevo and interviewed women there about their memories of the rebellion. Their memories are living witness to the trauma that was collectivization.
SCREENINGS & AWARDS
“What is Soviet Now?”, International Conference at the University of Toronto, Canada (April 6, 2006).
“Rossiia” Documentary Film Festival, Ekaterinburg, Russia (September, 2006).
“VIII Okraina Film Festival “ Riazan, Russia (December, 2010).