Bountiful Summer

As Dana Ranga observed in her 1996 film East Side Story, the Soviets—unlike the Americans—produced musical comedies only during periods of optimism. Filmed in 1950, when the USSR was emerging from the devastation of World War II, Boris Barnet's idyll about love in an agrarian collective is set among rippling wheat fields and verdant meadows; the leads are as attractive as Hollywood stars, but they lose a lot of screen time to money shots of prize livestock. The humor is gentle, the dramatic tension low-key, and the songs celebrate farm life for the glorious opportunities it provides to work ever harder and exceed quotas through solidarity. In Russian with subtitles. 86 min.

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