Prague’s Ponrepo cinema to screen existentialist masterpiece “Arsenal” as part of series exploring Ukrainian filmmaking

Photo: Kino Ponrepo/NFA

Ponrepo, the Prague cinema administered by the National Film Archive, will be screening a very special film this Tuesday evening. Arsenal is a revolutionary epic that depicts the January workers uprising in Kyiv in 1918. Directed by the famous Ukrainian-Soviet director Oleksandr Dovzhenko, it is considered to be the most prominent expressionist film in Ukrainian cinematography and was voted one of the best films of the year by the American National Board of Review when it came out in 1929.

When the average film fan is asked about early-Soviet cinema, the first name they are likely to come up with is Sergei Eisenstein. However, there were also other key proponents of what is commonly known as Soviet montage theory. Among them was the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleksandr Dovzhenko, who made several critically acclaimed films during the inter-war period.

It will be his film Arsenal that viewers will be able to see at a screening at Prague’s Ponrepo cinema this Tuesday from 8:30pm. The 58-minute-long film recalls an episode from the Russian Civil War. Specifically January 1918, when an uprising of workers in Kyiv aided the besieging Bolshevik army against the forces of the Ukrainian national Parliament who were in control of the city at the time.

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Author: Thomas McEnchroe