The General Line (Generalnaya liniya) (1929)




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Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein's The General Line (Generalnaia linia) began life 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, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. By the time he was able to return to General Line, 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 (Staroe i novoe). 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--were common to both versions of the film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The General Line (Generalnaya liniya)

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (2)

Eisenstein was condemned as a 'formalist'; and began the world travels that eventually led him to Mexico.

Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a bucolic epic about the Soviet struggle to collectivize agricultural production, and it's far from his least interesting or exciting film.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

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