While it was not unusual to find a woman director at the helm of a Russian film in the early 1930s, neither was it an everyday occurrence. Olga Preobrajenskaya's Cossacks of the Don focuses on plump heroine Akainya, who is married to Stephen but is in love with Grisha. For his part, Grisha loves Akainya but is compelled to marry Natalie. Meeting clandestinely in the moonlight by the banks of the Don, Akainya and Grisha plan to run off together, but WWI destroys their plans. Grisha returns from the battlefield to discover that Akainya has betrayed him. Knocking her down in full view of the entire village, the "hero" stalks off to parts unknown. No, Cossacks of the Don is not a feminist manifesto, despite the presence of a woman in the director's chair.
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