Field Work: films of the countryside

Field Work: films of the countryside

These films explore the provincial, the rural, the pastoral: whether idyllic retreat or bleak wasteland. They range from agricultural propaganda of the communist past to meditative documentary and contemporary climate crisis, demonstrating just how rich for cinematic exploration the human relationship to nature can be.

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Field Work: films of the countryside
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

    Movie + 4 extras

    Directed by Sergei Parajanov • 1965 • USSR/Ukraine

    The first mature masterpiece from one of world cinema’s true poets, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors bursts with imagination. Grounded in the folk traditions, aesthetics, and dialect of the Hutsul people of western Ukraine, Parajanov’s tale of for...

  • Song of the Cornfields

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by István Szőts • 1948 • Hungary

    A landmark film in Hungarian cinema history, István Szőts’s penultimate feature was banned for more than 30 years before being rehabilitated as a national treasure. Centring on a Hungarian soldier returning from the First World War who marries a woman he...

  • Conscience
    Movie + 1 extra

    Conscience

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Volodymyr Denysenko • 1968 • USSR/Ukraine

    Volodymyr Denysenko’s searing partisan drama is a neglected masterpiece of Soviet Ukrainian cinema. Recounting a partisan attack on a Nazi officer and the brutal recriminations that follow, Vasyl Zemliak’s quasi-autobiographical script draws ...

  • Asya’s Happiness
    Movie + 2 extras

    Asya’s Happiness

    Movie + 2 extras

    Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky • 1966 • USSR/Russia

    Collective farmer Asya is in love with the father of her unborn child. However, he does not reciprocate, leaving her forced to choose between a loveless marriage to another suitor and single motherhood. Konchalovsky’s sparsely beautiful tale o...

  • Spoor
    Movie + 2 extras

    Spoor

    Movie + 2 extras

    Directed by Agnieszka Holland • 2017 • Poland

    Two of Poland’s cultural titans join forces as veteran auteur Agnieszka Holland adapts Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead into a propulsive eco-thriller. Agnieszka Mandat is magnetic as Duszejko, an animal ri...

  • The Lord Eagle
    Movie + 3 extras

    The Lord Eagle

    Movie + 3 extras

    Directed by Eduard Novikov • 2018 • Russia

    Set in the 1930s, Eduard Novikov’s adaptation of Vasily Yakovlev’s short story follows an elderly couple deep in the Russian taiga. When they find themselves playing host to an unexpected guest one winter — a sacred eagle – they fear its arrival signals...

  • Earth
    Movie + 4 extras

    Earth

    Movie + 4 extras

    Directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko • 1930 • USSR/Ukraine

    Widely regarded as Dovzhenko’s masterpiece and one of the finest silent films ever made, Earth is fiercely poetic and politically radical. Narrating the collectivisation of agriculture in the Ukrainian countryside, Dovzhenko employs avant-gar...

  • Spring
    Movie + 1 extra

    Spring

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Arvo Kruusement • 1969 • USSR/Estonia

    Widely considered their nation’s greatest ever film by Estonian audiences, Spring is a touching and invigorating period drama. Based on the popular novel of the same name by Oskar Luts, it tells the story of a group of rural schoolchildren at th...

  • Autumn Sun
    Movie + 1 extra

    Autumn Sun

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Bagrat Oganesyan • 1977 • USSR / Armenia

    Strikingly progressive and beautifully crafted, Bagrat Oganesyan’s Autumn Sun tells the story of Aghun (a bravado performance by the director’s own wife, Anahit Gukasyan), a simple woman forced to contend with the banal cruelties of the men wh...

  • We Are Our Mountains
    Movie + 2 extras

    We Are Our Mountains

    Movie + 2 extras

    Directed by Henrik Malyan • 1969 • USSR/Armenia

    When a petty dispute over a lost sheep gets out of hand, a group of shepherds find their mountain idyll interrupted by the long arm of the law in Henrik Malyan’s cult Soviet satire, adapted from his own work by beloved Armenian author Hrant Matevos...

  • Tulpan
    Movie + 1 extra

    Tulpan

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy • 2008 • Kazakhstan

    Sergei Dvortsevoy’s Cannes-awarded fiction feature debut is part ethnography, part romantic comedy, and part beginners’ guide to sheep-rearing. Recently demobbed from the Russian Navy, idealistic young Asa returns to his family home on Kazakhstan...

  • Dawn
    Movie + 2 extras

    Dawn

    Movie + 2 extras

    Directed by Laila Pakalniņa • 2015 • Latvia

    At once an homage to and a subversive reimagining of Soviet cinematic heritage, Laila Pakalniņa’s Dawn is one of post-independence Latvia’s most crucial films. Pakalniņa draws on the Stalinist propaganda myth of Pavlik Morozov: an ardent Pioneer who wa...

  • The Stone Cross
    Movie + 2 extras

    The Stone Cross

    Movie + 2 extras

    Directed by Leonid Osyka • 1968 • USSR/Ukraine

    Western Ukraine in the 1890s. When elderly peasant Ivan Didukh decides to leave his Carpathian home in search of a better life in Canada, the village comes together to ceremonially mark his departure, understood as symbolic of the death of their old...

  • Happy-Go-Lucky
    Movie + 1 extra

    Happy-Go-Lucky

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Vasily Shukshin • 1972 • USSR/Russia

    Vasily Shukshin delivers perhaps his most arresting film with this story of a Siberian tractor driver and his wife travelling to the Black Sea riviera for the first time. Along the way, our rural couple collide with various urban archetypes, inclu...

  • Motorcycle Summer
    Movie + 1 extra

    Motorcycle Summer

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Uldis Brauns • 1975 • USSR/Latvia

    When Māris receives a motorbike for his eighteenth birthday, he hits the road with his friends. When he meets unhappy bride-to-be Inese and her thoughtless fiancé, a whirlwind romance blooms that soon sees the pair riding the roads of Soviet Latvia. ...

  • My Joy
    Movie + 1 extra

    My Joy

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Sergei Loznitsa • 2010 • Russia/Ukraine

    The first Ukrainian production ever to compete for the Palme d’Or, My Joy marked the fiction debut in one of the most vital directorial careers in modern film. Sergei Loznitsa’s grimly compelling excavation of the past and future of Russian nat...

  • The Woman and the Glacier

    Movie + 3 extras

    Directed by Audrius Stonys • 2016 • Lithuania

    Lithuanian glaciologist Ausra Revutaite has lived alone in the Tian Shen mountains of Kazakhstan for 30 years, with only a cat and a dog for company in her battered Soviet-era cabin. Her life is utterly dedicated to the study of the Tuyuksu Glacier. ...

  • The White Bird Marked with Black

    Movie + 2 extras

    Directed by Yuri Ilyenko • 1971 • USSR/Ukraine

    Yuri Ilyenko’s landmark film follows the Zvonars, a family of poor musicians, as personal and geopolitical crises collide across the course of the tumultuous 1940s. Set in the region of Bukovina, on the border between Ukraine and Romania, Ilyenko’s ...

  • The Stone Cross

    Directed by Leonid Osyka • 1968 • USSR/Ukraine

    Western Ukraine in the 1890s. When elderly peasant Ivan Didukh decides to leave his Carpathian home in search of a better life in Canada, the village comes together to ceremonially mark his departure, understood as symbolic of the death of their old...

  • The Ballad of Piargy

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Ivo Trajkov • 2022 • Slovakia

    Ivo Trajkov’s exquisitely eerie blend of period drama and folk horror explores the dark depths of patriarchal cruelty and nationalist fervour. Told in a series of flashbacks, the film recounts the last days of the rural Slovak village of Piargy. The powe...