Soviet filmmaker Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s “Arsenal” to screen in L.A.
Still from Arsenal.

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Workers Center and Hollywood Progressive co-present the revolutionary classic Arsenal as part of “Ten Films That Shook the World: A Cinematic Centennial Celebration of the Russian Revolution.” The screening will take place on Friday, June 23, at 7:30 pm.

Unfolded through lyrical imagery, Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s 1929 film Arsenal depicts the horrors of World War I and the occupation of a Kiev munitions factory in 1918 by revolutionary workers, who confront reactionary soldiers. The ending of Arsenal is straight out of mythology or superhero stories—although it preceded Superman’s comic book debut by almost a decade. Arsenal’s astonishing ending also predates Earl Robinson’s ballad about the Wobbly labor organizer, “Joe Hill.”

In his history of the Soviet film, Kino, Jay Leyda called the 90-minute-long Arsenal “the first masterpiece of the Ukrainian cinema.” American film historian Lewis Jacobs wrote that Arsenal “contains some of the most sensitive pictorial compositions the screen has ever known” that “achieve the emotional intensity of great lyrical poems…. Dovzhenko, perhaps more than anyone else, can be called the first poet of movies.” Dovzhenko expressed the Russian Revolution’s ethos by portraying the revolutionary as superhero.

This screening is the fifth in a monthly film series running through November 2017 to commemorate and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the February and October 1917 Revolutions in Russia, and 1905’s mass uprisings. All 10 films screened during these 10 months are Soviet cinema classics, among the greatest political films ever made. See the entire schedule at:

Before each screening a speaker briefly introduces each film and filmmaker. After the movie the speaker will make additional remarks, followed by a Q&A. Light refreshments are served. These black and white, silent films, with English subtitles and musical soundtracks, are screened under imperfect conditions, although this is a chance to see them projected on a big screen. Admission is free, although donations and potluck contributions are accepted. Screenings start at 7:30 pm on the fourth Friday of each month, except for the last one on Nov. 7th. Film historian/critic Ed Rampell, author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States, is the series programmer/co-presenter. For info:

The screening will be at the L.A. Workers Center, 1251 S. St. Andrews Pl., L.A. 90019 (two blocks west of Western Ave., accessible only from Pico Blvd.).


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.