Driven to near-suicidal depression by the rather cool acceptance of EARTH, Dovzhenko followed up his masterwork with IVAN, his first experience with sound cinema, which Dovzhenko seemed to accept and master more readily than some of his Soviet contemporaries. Like EARTH, IVAN concerns itself with the natural rhythms of country life disrupted by the beat of the looming industrialization. The latter is represented here by a river dam, a grand and awesome project the fruits of which Dovzhenko curiously withholds from the viewer. Etched against this monumental project is a story of a country lad's progress from a peasant hut to a workers' school, but as in Dovzhenko's other films, IVAN seeks to address the danger and effects of a disrupted natural harmony.
"Despite the change in his medium IVAN is consistent with the growth of Dovzhenko's method. This is clear, not only in its beauties - in the introductory poem to the Dnieper, in the magnificent sense of space at the construction site, day and night, in the sculptural figures of workers there, and in the images of pain. . . . There is, aside from these visual beauties, Dovzhenko's ceaseless search for simplicity of statement...." - Jay Leyda, Kino
Source : www.seagullfilms.com