Alexander Dovzhenko

Profile

Alexander Petrovich Dovzhenko (1894 – 1956) was a celebrated script writer, film producer and director from the Soviet-Union. He is often cited as one of the most important early Soviet filmmakers, alongside Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, as well as being a pioneer of Soviet montage theory. He grew up as the seventh of fourteen children in a farmer's family, but due to the horrific rate of child loss only he and his sister Polina survived. At 19, Dovzhenko became a school teacher. During the Soviet-Ukrainian War he fought in the army of the Ukrainian People's Republic against the Red Army. In 1919, he was taken prisoner and sent to a concentration camp. After his release, he served as an assistant to the Ambassador in Warsaw and Berlin. In 1923 he returned to the Soviet-Union, where he started working as an illustrator and political cartoonist. In 1926, he moved to Odessa to concentrate on film making. His ambitious drive led to the production of his second-ever screenplay, Vasya the Reformer. He gained greater success with Zvenyhora (1928), the first part of his Ukraine trilogy, which established him as a major filmmaker. He completed his trilogy with Arsenal and Zemlya. Dovzhenko was a two-time winner of the Stalin Prize, which he received for Shchors (1941) and Michurin (1949). During World War Two, Dovzhenko travelled as an embedded journalist with the Red Army. After the war, he worked at Mosfilm Studios in Moscow as a writer and producer. In his twenty-year career he only directed seven films. After his death in 1956, the Dovzhenko Film Studios in Kiev were named after him in his honour. The Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha was formed in 2004 by the avant-garde stage director Vladislav Troitsky, director of the DAKH Kiev Centre of Contemporary Arts. The band is made up of Marko Halanevych, Iryna Kovalenko, Olena Tsibulska and Nina Garenetska and managed by Iryna Gorban. DakhaBrakha is an old-Urkainian word for 'give and take'. Dubbing their music 'ethno-chaos', the band play an eccentric brand of very soulful, theatrical world music, mixing Ukrainian folk with rhythmic elements from around the world. Combining the characteristic sounds of traditional Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instruments with their exceptionally powerful vocals, the quartet produce a transnational sound, on the cusp of folk and contemporary theatre and rooted in Ukrainian culture. DakhaBrakha enjoy cult status in their home country, and they're the house band of Kiev's DAKH Theatre, but they've built a name for themselves on the international stage as well, with more than 500 performances at a variety of venues and festivals in Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada and South-America. To date DakhaBrakha have produced four studio albums and written and performed music for ten films. In 2010, they received the Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Award. In 2015, DakhaBrakha played at Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands. This year they will make their debut at the Holland Festival.