Synopsis by Mark Deming
Corruption and ego threaten to destroy the hard work of a group of collective farmers in this drama filmed in the Soviet Union during a relatively liberal period of the Khruschev regime. After the traumatic death of his father, teenage Sasha (Oleg Tabakov) is taken in by Ignat Gmyzin (Nikolai Sergeyev), the leader of one of the area's leading collective farms. Ignat is a strong believer in both socialism and the collective farming system, and he and his comrades work hard to make their harvest a rich and productive one. However, Pavel Mansurov (Viktor Avdyushko), the farm's liaison with the Communist Party officials, is growing weary of the incompetence and self-serving actions of his superiors, especially the regional party leader (Vladimir Emelyanov). Director Mikhail Shveitser's original cut of Tugoy Uzel faced resistance from Soviet authorities, who were miffed by the film's depiction of corruption within the Communist Party, particularly the portrayal of the party official played by Vladimir Emelyanov. Shveitser was later ordered to rewrite Emelyanov's scenes and re-shoot them with another actor; the revised cut of the film was released later the same year as Sasha Vstupayet V Zhizn. Both versions were screened at the 2000 Locarno Film Festival as part of a retrospective on Soviet filmmaking.
collective, farmer, harvest, corruption, Socialism