Bitter Harvest

Bitter Harvest

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Set against the explosive, war-torn backdrop of 1930s Ukraine, this action-filled epic follows a young artist as he battles famine, imprisonment, and torture to save his childhood love and free his country.


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Oct 20, 2018

An action-drama that takes place during the Holodomir, the Ukrainian genocide by means of the Soviet's man-made famine, is done with the aire of a telenovela, caricatures and all, allowing the drama to overshadow the tragic historical event. Much like historical telenovelas tend to do, this is a missed opportunity to pay history its dues. In this case it fails to bring the Holodomir to the forefront, as the film relegates it to the backdrop where the audience can take note of the larger picture historical horror as part of the scenery and circumstance for the drama. I give the film some credit for shedding some light on a subject that deseves more public attention than it has received.

Jul 05, 2018

This is an awesome film, very true to the historical record. There are people in our county who lived through this during their childhood. I worked with them for several years.

Feb 02, 2018

A very important story that is unfortunately told in a very shoddy movie. It is kind of shame this event could not have been given a better treatment. The production level is down to a made for cable movie and the story and writing is sort of a mess. Doctor Zhivago it is not. If a person wants a better understanding of the period the excellent books Red Famine or Bloodlands:Europe between Hitler and Stalin are a great place to start.

Dec 18, 2017

Soviets speaking English, nuff for me. The movie was good enough to watch, interesting enough to keep me watching it to the end. It's a made up story, based on true events, and it's lack of emotional impact that mde me feel that it's inadequate. Could have been more.

Nov 24, 2017

The idea that the Nazis were right wing is obviously wrong. It was after all the National Socialist German Workers Party. Stalin and Hitler played from the same playbook. Authoritarian states, secret police, political murder, concentration camps, aggressive foreign policy, militarism, mass propaganda and government control of the economy. Who owned their tank factories is interesting but irrelevant. It is convenient for the self acknowledged "left" to distance themselves from the Nazis. A university will still gladly hire "socialist" professors but have to draw the line at Nazis. The charade that Hitler and Stalin represented two different sides of the political spectrum has to be maintained for the sake of the Marxists and fellow travelers including the Antifa types.

Sep 09, 2017

In the first half of the 20th century two terrible totalitarian systems came on and (mostly) were driven off the world stage, leaving scores of millions of dead in their wakes. Stories of Right totalitarianism and some of its victims have been told cinematically hundreds of times.

On the other hand, there is a shocking and dangerous (and predictable?) paucity of films telling the stories of Left totalitarianism and its victims. "Bitter Harvest" will help remedy this deficit in a small way.

This is not a perfect film. Among other things, there are plot problems in the lead up to Yuri's trip to Kiev. And the mishmash of accents by the mostly Anglophone actors was initially distracting. However, "Bitter Harvest" is a good, mostly well-acted historical drama that engagingly sheds much-needed light on some of the crimes of Left totalitarianism, a subject too long and perilously neglected by the film industry.


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Dec 14, 2017

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Sep 04, 2017

"Based on one of the most overlooked tragedies of the 20th century, Bitter Harvest  is a powerful story of love, honor, rebellion and survival as seen through the eyes of two young lovers caught in the ravages of Joseph Stalin’s genocidal policies against Ukraine in the 1930s. As Stalin advances the ambitions of communists in the Kremlin, a young artist named Yuri ( Max Irons ) battles to survive famine, imprisonment and torture to save his childhood sweetheart Natalka ( Samantha Barks ) from the 'Holodomor,' the death‑by‑starvation program that ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians. Against this tragic backdrop, Yuri escapes from a Soviet prison and joins the anti‑Bolshevik resistance movement as he battles to reunite with Natalka and continue the fight for a free Ukraine.

"Filmed on location in Ukraine, this epic love story brings to light one of the most devastating chapters of modern Europe."


Sep 04, 2017

" 'Bitter Harvest' does indeed cast a searing light on the Holodomor, Stalin’s motives and Moscow’s savage repression of Ukraine’s resistance to the Soviet regime. But it is neither a history book nor an impersonal polemic. Above all, it is the gripping tale of Yuri and Natalka – a young couple in love, who fight to overcome every obstacle life throws at them.

"Director George Mendeluk is first and foremost a master storyteller, breathing vivid life into the nuanced characters in his epic-romance. By spinning a tale anyone can identify with, Mr. Mendeluk also illuminates our common humanity. 'Bitter Harvest' stands out as a romance in the same sense as Verdi’s 'La Traviata' – that composer’s most intimate opera, where he plumbed his heroine’s heart with a wealth of poetic expression and economy of means."

Source: Adrian Bryttan, “ 'Bitter Harvest': A universal romance shines a light on truth about the Holodomor," Ukrainian Weekly. February 17, 2017.

Sep 04, 2017

"This international co-production is out to impress as Ukraine's Doctor Zhivago. It's set during The Great Famine of 1932-33, when Stalin's Soviets starved millions of Ukrainian farmers and their families with its genocidal policy of forced collectivisation.

"But sitting at the centre of the tragedy is a love story between childhood sweethearts Yuri and Natalka, played by Britain's Max Irons (son of Jeremy) and Samantha Barks, who scored her screen breakthrough with her performance as Epomine, the young revolutionary in the Hugh Jackman-Russell Crowe film version of Les Miserables.

"They're a beguiling pair but they're destined to spend half the movie apart. After a pastoral idyll shot in their village at harvest time with sunny backlighting and connotations of mellow fruitfulness, the Russians ride in and nothing is ever the same again."

Source: Sandra Hall, "Bitter Harvest review: Beguiling pair in Ukrainian tilt at Doctor Zhivago, " Sydney Morning Herald, February 26 2017.

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