I have a nagging suspicion that the editors of The Book have a wicked sense of humor. I would not at all be surprised if they are laughing their butts off when idiots like me are taking the list serious and actually see a movie like “Zemlya”. The only valid reason for it to be on the list is as a crude joke on us morons.
“Zemlya” is heralded as an achievement. I just wonder what sort of achievement they are referring to. The likeliest answer is an achievement in supreme boredom. But it could also be “most inconsistent storyline ever” or “most agitated reception of a tractor in recorded history”.
Somehow none of these achievements grant it much respect from me.
The film starts (slowly) with a man lying down. “Are you dying, Simon?”, “Yes, Peter”, ”okay”. Then Simon sits up and does not at all look like a guy who is about to die. Instead he asks for some food and get a pear, which he eats while watching some children. Then he put the pear aside, grasps his chest and lie down to die. “Simon liked pears” says one of the on-lookers. And that is it. End of Simon.
Then something happens. It simply be because Simon died, or it was something the rich bastards did, or maybe the rich bastards caused Simons death. In any case for the longest time people are very upset. I mean really really upset. Only topped a moment later when the tractor arrives. Suddenly everybody are totally ecstatic. You would never believe it till you saw it how excited villagers can be over a tractor. There is a moment of crisis when the radiator of the tractor runs dry, but that is solved with some determined pissing in the radiator.
For a while we get a tour of agrarian life anno 1930 in probably Ukraine, a bit like a museum exhibit.
Basil the happy young man driving the tractor is seen dancing down the road and then falls. Apparently he is dead and the blame is on the rich bastards. Now people are upset again. Basil’s father does not want a priest for the funeral but instead let the young people do it themselves and sing songs about the future.
Finally some shots of apples.
Not really, no?
I will admit that I laughed occasionally when it got too ridiculous, but that is not a sign of quality.
The worst thing is that this movie has now wasted my time twice because I had to see it again to write the commentary.
Zemlya = Home video + 1930 + Soviet propaganda à Garbage bin