6.0/10
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Bitter Harvest (2017)

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Set in 1930s Ukraine, as Stalin advances the ambitions of communists in the Kremlin, young artist Yuri battles to save his lover Natalka from the Holodomor, the death-by-starvation program that ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians.

Director:

George Mendeluk

Writers:

Richard Bachynsky Hoover (screenplay), George Mendeluk (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Terence Stamp ... Ivan
Aneurin Barnard ... Mykola
Barry Pepper ... Yaroslav
Tamer Hassan ... Sergei
Max Irons ... Yuri
Samantha Barks ... Natalka
Richard Brake ... Medved
Tom Austen ... Taras
Lucy Brown ... Olena
Kathy Kiera Clarke ... Varvara
Nicholas Aaron ... Walter Duranty
William Beck ... Stefan
Edward Akrout ... Professor Temchuck
Paul Hickey ... Lazar Kaganovich
Richard Ashton ... Father Ostapovich
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Storyline

Set between the two World Wars and based on true historical events, BITTER HARVEST conveys the untold story of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine engineered by the tyrant Joseph Stalin. The film displays a powerful tale of love, honour, rebellion and survival at a time when Ukraine was forced to adjust to the horrifying territorial ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union. With an exceptional cast of established and rising stars, the film epically recreates one of the most dramatic and dangerous episodes in the history of 20th Century Europe.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Soviet Union. 1933. Stalin's tyranny could destroy their country. But not their love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Website

Country:

Canada | UK

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

24 February 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Devil's Harvest See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyiv, Ukraine See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$219,357, 26 February 2017

Gross USA:

$557,004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Katya is played by Belle Hassan who is Tamer Hassan's daughter. Belle is a contestant on Love Island 2019. See more »

Quotes

Title card: [at the end of the film]
Title card: Only a few made their way past Stalin's border guards and escaped to freedom. The genocidal famine created by the Soviets in 1932/33 is known today as the Holodomor - Death by Starvation. The full horror of this deliberate policy of genocide towards Ukraine was revealed only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2003, Russia signed a U.N. declaration confirming that the Holodomor had taken the lives of between 7 and 10 million innocent people. Today, the ...
See more »

Soundtracks

Pidgirka
(Polka)
Performed by the "Gulyaygorod" group
Director: Sergey Postolnikov
Courtesy of Andamar Entertainment Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unfocused Drama
9 April 2017 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

A common myth involving famine is that that it's entirely down to there not being enough food to go around an increasing human population . In other words there's too many people to survive on an essential resource , or "Malthusian catastrophe" to give it its technical term. What is being said is that there's too many people but there's often the innuendo that there's "too many (Insert black , brown or yellow here) people" here. The reality is that there's more than enough food in the world and the problems of food supply lie elsewhere, Don't believe me ? Ask yourself this:if there's more than 7 billion people in the world , more than it has ever been why is it that in the last few years only the Horn of Africa and North Korea have suffered famines ? You see my point ? It's nothing to do with resources and has everything to do with war in North East Africa and state policy in North Korea

BITTER HARVEST tells the story of one of the worst man made disasters in human history , that of the 1930s Soviet famine , most especially the Holodomor experience of the Ukrainians. Make no mistake because the famine was entirely man made where Josef Stalin rescinded Lenin's New Economic Policy ( Lenin and Trotsky's name change for capitalism )and executed or imprisoned everyone who knew anything about farming or engineering. A recipe for disaster in other words

The film itself is far from a disaster but constantly fails to make up its mind as to what it's trying to be. From the opening scene where the lead male and female are introduced as children you think that the film might be going one way only for it to go in a direction that it doesn't need to. It's a little bit love story , a little bit historical epic , a little bit action adventure etc but these segments never join up to a bigger picture , so much so it leads to an ultimately unsatisfying movie. It doesn't help that the goodies and baddies are painted in such broad stereotypical strokes

This is especially annoying where the casting is involved. Tamar Hassan is an actor I know from low budget British hooligan sub-genre films but is something of a revelation as Commissar Sergei but ends up being a rudimentary villain because that's what the screenplay demands and it is the fault of the screenplay . On the other end of the spectrum is up and coming Welsh actor Aneurin Bernard who plays Mykola a multi-layered Marxist and complex character but quickly disappears from the narrative. Things like this draw your attention to the fact that this is a well meaning film but should have been a great film as well as a well meaning one


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