Film Library
Taras Shevchenko, 1926.  

Original title: Taras Shevchenko
Copyright: VUFKU, State Agency of Ukraine for Cinematography.
Format: drama, biopic
Carrier: DVD
Color: black and white
Length: Part One - 93 min., Part Two - 94 min.
Language: silent
Intertiles: in Russian, interspersed with Shevchenko's poetry in Ukrainian.
English subtitles: no


Film crew
Director: Petro Chardynin
Script writer: M. Yu. Panchenko
Cinematographer: Borys Zavelev
Art designer: Vasyl Krychevsky
Produced by VUFKU


Film cast
Ambrosiy Buchma as adult Taras Shevchenko
Vasylko Liudvynsky as little Taras
others: Ivan Khudoleiev, Mykola Panov, Matviy Liarov, Ivan Zamychkovsky, Yuri Shumsky.


The great national poet of Ukraine Taras Shevchenko has always been claimed by two opposing political camps: Ukrainian nationalists, and Russian chauvinists. Ukrainian nationalists have regarded him as the prophet of national liberty, unity, and independent statehood. The Russian chauvinists and their supporters in Ukraine have presented Shevchenko primarily as a revolutionary democrat, friend of the oppressed and poor irrespective of nationality, herald of the "Soviet family of nations." This film is an early illustration of how the Russian imperial propaganda handled the emotionally and ideologically charged theme of Taras Shevchenko. The film follows the poet's life chronology from his village Kerelivka in central Ukraine as the son of serfs, on to his stay in imperial St. Petersburg, where he is admitted to the exclusive circle of Russian artists, on to Kyiv and the activity of the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood, his exile as soldier to the deserts of Kazakhstan and then his release. The film is one of the first to articulate the Russian ideological fabrication that Shevchenko was at odds with Ukrainian nationalists like Panteleimon Kulish, Mykola Kostomarov and others, and was in spirit much closer to Russian democrats like Belinsky, Chernyshevsky, and Gertzen than to fighters of Ukraine's independence.
For film historians Chardynin's "Taras Shevchenko" is also interesting as one of the early appearances of Ambrosiy Buchma, perhaps the greatest genius of Ukrainian silver screen of the first half for the twentieth century.
The film was shot in such real-life locations as the village of Kerelivka, Kyiv, St. Petersburg, Nizhii Novgorod. It was shown all around the Soviet Union and abroad, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Romania, Spain, Holland, United States and Canada.
In the early 1930-s it is removed from distribution in the Soviet Union as ideologically suspect.

Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University© 2015. For more information please contact Yuri Shevchuk