Soldiers return to Ukraine to find their homeland teeming with strife and dissension; gripped in a conflict between nationalist forces and communists. One faction of soldiers, led by Timosh (Semyon Svashenko) supports the communists and takes command of a munitions factory at Kiev, converting the weapons arsenal into a fortress. Still reeling from the trauma of war, Timosh and his comrades engage in a violent crusade that soon spreads across the Ukraine. A country of farms and villages gives way to killing fields. Modern warfare, with its guns, bombs and trenches scars a landscape rich in hundred years’ worth of tradition.
A “white hot war film” in Jonathan Rosenbaum’s words, Arsenal is placed alongside Battleship Potemkin as the great revolutionary masterpiece of Soviet cinema. Its frank depiction of violence as well as its fantastic lyrical imagery established Dovzhenko as the least ideological and most experimental film-maker of his age. The reach of its influence stretches from the works of Sergei Parajanov to Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.
Represents the summit of Soviet cinema and remains one of the most poetic and visually beautiful of all Russian films -- Chicago Tribune
This ambitious film has evoked comparisons with Picasso's Guernica for its angry, compassionate, complex depiction of war and is full of unforgettable images -- The Guardian
1929 / 87 minutes / Silent - Russian with English subtitles / Mono audio (orchestral score) / 1.33 : 1 Black & White / DVD PAL Multi Region / MRBDVD034