Turksib (1929) Poster


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Impressive work of early docu-ganda
mgmax6 October 1999
Documentary account of the building of a railroad through central Asia, presented as a heroic triumph of Soviet progress over natural adversity. As a work of high-powered editing, a notch below Berlin Symphony of a City, perhaps, but only one notch, and with far less overt political content than many Soviet films. If I'd been a peasant and they'd come to town showing these heroic bulldozers and hammer-swingers, I'd have signed up for the revolution.
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Great film
rmh32831 June 2000
Stirring, with countless lovely images: the camels cresting the dune casting spectacular shadows, the sand sliding down the slope after the simoon, the incredible faces of the Asiatic peasants, as they stoically wait for their water. And who cares about the political content of any of these early Soviet films? Let's not be anachronistic. Remember that they were intended to educate a vastly disparate population, and to inspire them. To complain about the propaganda is similar to watching horror films and then objecting to their "scare tactics", even if they are skillfully done.
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Turksib—An Emotional Journey in Connecting North to South, and South to North
kril1017 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Turksib is a gripping documentary illustrating the societal struggles resolved with the construction of the 1445-kilometer Turkestan-Siberia ("Turk-Sib") railway line through Kazakhstan in 1930. For a silent film, Turksib features exemplary organization to guide the reader. First, the viewer is exposed to the problems affecting the people of Turkestan without a railway connection. Next, the film displays the unfaltering determination of man and machine as they battle nature to construct the Turk-Sib line. Finally, upon the line's completion, one is given a happy conclusion showing montages of successful harvest and manufacture of cotton and wool products from Turkestan, aided by the railroad.

The repetitive use of inter-titles, often just single words displayed on multiple occasions, added a lot emotional power to the three aforementioned parts of the film. For example, the words "water," "grain," and "waiting" were frequently repeated in between images of the people of Turkestan miserably awaiting water or not being able to transport their cotton to the market, making the viewer sympathize and understand the need for a Turk-Sib line. Furthermore, during the construction of the line, repeating words like "forward," "man," "machine," and "civilization" emphasized the stubbornness of man in conquering nature, shown with montages of workers digging up the land and detonating mountains to lay track. Finally, the words "north-to- south," "south-to-north," and "cotton" were continuously redisplayed towards the end, underscoring the successful railway connection, shown with montages of successful harvests in Turkestan and of cotton mills springing to life again.

Throughout the film, the viewer remained engaged through the repetitive inter-titles and logical organization, feeling the struggles experienced by the people of Turkestan, sharing in the intrepid attitude of the workers ripping apart the land to build the railroad, and celebrating alongside the people when the pulse of the mills picked up again after the Turk-Sib was completed. All in all, Turksib is a great account of a huge accomplishment, Soviet Russia's version of the Darlington to Stockton-on-Tees line in Britain, or the trans-continental railroad in the United States.
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Mechanical In The Purest Sense Of The Term
The current times are hard for the European continent where the financial crisis and the new economic order imposed by Fraulein Merkel ( Deutchland finally conquered Europe, ja wohl! ) on their partners demands austerity and budget cuts. This seems to be the answer to many E.U. economic difficulties as far as the German chancellor is concerned. A pleasant contrast can be found by watching films like "Turksib" (1929) directed by Herr Viktor Turin where we see the Bolshevik government investing in major infrastructure and forgetting what the word "crisis" means.

Obviously this Herr Graf preferred other more amusing private government investments as happened during the Czarist times when they held big balls with magnificent orchestras and served sumptuous meals to idle aristocrats. Unfortunately this was dramatically modified when the Bolsheviks came to power; they preferred more common and earthly investments like the building of the Turkestan-Siberian railway which is what is depicted in a detailed way in the film "Turksib". The huge and complicated project joined the arid plains of the Russian region with the icy Siberian mountains.

"Turksib" is a pure propaganda silent film without complexity so accordingly Herr Turin did his work properly and with due care to details and precision. The film lacks emotion in comparison with similar propaganda oeuvres of the same period with their studied aestheticism and powerful imagery that seduces the audience. "Turksib" is a down to earth documentary which wastes no time on beautiful landscapes and is mechanical in the purest sense of the term.

Technically "Turksib" is an excellent silent film with its superb editing so typical of the Soviet films of the period. The modern and the ancient are connected as we see workmen and engineers working alongside local tribes. It is pretty much a publicity report for the Bolshevik government but certainly an effective one.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must book a ticket in advance for the Turksib in order to put on the train one of his rich heiresses with the hope that she can be lost forever in such far-off foreign lands.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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Dry, but Good
garcianyssa12 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Turin's Turksib is the telling of the Turkestan-Siberian Railway and seems to be a positive commentary on the construction of this railroad. First Turin establishes the struggles facing the native population by showing images of their daily lives and the obstacles they face. Turin first sets up the importance of cotton and the maintaining of their land by showing many close-ups of cotton and the products made from it before moving onto other establishing shots of the land and the workers, which help to provide a sense of humanity and connection with the viewer. The introduction of the railroad and the positive impact its construction will have on the people of Turkestan is only further cemented by previous scenes like the one showing the people waiting for water. Turin's use of repetitive title-cards in scenes like these help to convey the urgency experienced by the people and further connects the audience with their struggle. The continued romanticizing of the railroad and the focus on all the positives that this railroad will have clearly suggests that this film is one of propaganda. Turin's film has many good elements of filmmaking and is overall successful in conveying the positive message of continued improvement through industrialization.
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Very Boring
wegi-605-9025 March 2013
Sometimes I am left to wonder if being a product of our modern age has ruined my ability to appreciate the classics of years past. In the world of Russian cinema Turin's Turksib is considered to be a classic, but I would be lying if I claimed to find the viewing experience any more exciting than watching paint dry.

The film documents the building of the Turkestan-Siberia railway, which is an important moment in Soviet history. The film plays out as a history lesson of sorts, providing the viewer with historical context on the affected regions to start and progressing from there. I did appreciate the constant text cards, which appeared more often than in some other movies from this era that I had watched. Though it could be attributed to the fact that the film did not rely on the facial expressions of actors to tell its story. The film did a good job of capturing the landscape with some excellent shots, but on that note, the camera hardly moved. The static nature of the camera, in combination with a lack of human expression for me to tap into, made it almost impossible for this film to excite my 2013 senses. It was almost laughable when dramatic music would start playing, as if some kind of action was about to take place, only to show a still landscape or a person walking. I don't think that I would view this film as negatively as I do, if I hadn't watched some other films from this time period that show excitement did not need to be so lacking, especially when comparing Man with a Movie Camera, another documentary, to it.

While we live in a ADD world, sometimes it is OK to say some things are better left in the past.
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