Arsenal (1928) is one of Dovzhenko's earlier works and was made towards the end of the silent era. It was a remarkable film in its day for the boldness of its experimental montage and symbolism. The film depicts an actual incident that occurred in Ukraine during the Bolshevik revolution. With the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, civil war broke out in Ukraine between two main opposing factors. Nationalists wanted an independent Ukraine free from Russian rule, while Ukrainian Bolsheviks favored a re-unification with the new Russia. One conflict that arose during this civil war involved a munitions factory in Kiev. Arsenal focuses upon this conflict, in which Ukrainian Bolsheviks seized control of the munitions factory but were ultimately defeated by the Nationalists.
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