Prometheus / Prometei




Ukrainian SSR




39 min


Ivan Kavaleridze


Ivan Kavaleridze


Mykola Topchii


Ivan Tverdokhlib, Polina Niatko, Oleksandr Serdiuk, Hnat Yura, Nataliia Uzhvii, Ivan Marianenko, Mykola Nademskyi

Ivan, a serf peasant boy, finds himself conscripted into the Russian army and dispatched to the tumultuous Caucasus, while his master sends Ivan’s beloved into a brothel. Inspired by the indomitable resistance of the Caucasians against the Russian army, Ivan embarks on a poignant journey back to his native village, assuming the mantle of a leader in a peasant uprising.

Prometheus stands as a pivotal cornerstone in the tapestry of Ukrainian cinema during the 1930s. Crafted by Ivan Kavaleridze, the screenplay draws from the intricate threads of Taras Shevchenko’s work and biography, notably drawing inspiration from the verses of Prometheus and The Dream. Kavaleridze, in a deeply personal narrative layer, interweaves the saga of his great-grandfather—an involuntary exile during Russia’s colonization of the Caucasus. This narrative intricacy is further enriched by extensive historical explorations of Russia’s colonization policy.

Cinematic grandeur takes center stage as the legendary cinematographer Mykola Topchii infuses the film with an epic scope. Greeted with initial accolades from both the press and fellow cinematographers, Prometheus secured a distinguished governmental award. However, this success was short lived; a tide of withering critique soon surged in the pages of the state newspaper, Pravda. Accusations of “nationalism” and the disapprobation of Stalin himself cast a shadow over the film. As a result, the film was pulled from distribution and ordered to be redone.

Yet, these challenges proved insurmountable, and despite relentless editing, Prometheus did not return to cinema screens. It was relegated to languish on shelves, veiled in dust, for decades.