Prometheus / Prometei
Ivan Tverdokhlib, Polina Niatko, Oleksandr Serdiuk, Hnat Yura, Nataliia Uzhvii, Ivan Marianenko, Mykola Nademskyi
Ukrainian SSR, Ukrainfilm
Ivan is a serf peasant boy who was forcibly conscripted into the Russian army and sent to the Caucasus. His master forces his girlfriend into a brothel. Inspired by the heroic resistance of the Caucasians against the Russian army, Ivan returns to his native village and leads a peasant uprising.
Prometheus is one of the central films of 1930s Ukrainian cinema. Kavaleridze wrote the script based on the work and biography of Taras Shevchenko, mainly inspired by his poems “Prometheus” and “Dream”. The director added the very personal story of his great grandfather who was forcibly removed from his homeland during Russia’s conquest in the Caucasus as well as many historical studies about the conquest policy of Russia.
The film was shot on an epic scale by the legendary cinematographer Mykola Topchiy. It was initially well received by both the press and cinematographers and received an award from the government. However, later a devastating critique appeared in the newspaper “Truth”. He was accused of nationalism and criticized by Stalin. Therefore, the film was removed from distribution and ordered to be redone. Even this did not save Kavaleridze’s film. Despite numerous edits, Prometheus never returned to cinemas and sat on the shelf for decades.