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Dovzhenko's Arsenal represents the avant-garde masterpiece of the renowned Ukrainian director. Dovzhenko employs the most elliptical and complex montage style of any of the Soviet masters in this treatment of events from the Ukrainian Civil War.
Based on an actual incident from 1918, the film's story concerns a group of Ukrainian Bolsheviks who battle against counter-revolutionary nationalist troops in Kiev. The Bolsheviks put up an Alamo-like defense of their cause inside the city's Arsenal munitions plant.
Outnumbered by the nationalist troops, the defenders are overrun and defeated in the climactic battle, but their revolutionary spirit prevails. The story outline can only suggest the formal complexity of this film. Dovzhenko mixes elements from traditional Ukrainian folklore with modernist film techniques in a dazzling collage.