The words “Bitter Harvest” makes me think Billie Holiday and Nina Simone’s song “Strange Fruit;” the crop being dead bodies — a story all too familiar to people of color.
Although the movie takes place in 1933, the blood on Russia’s hands is just as prevalent today. When President Trump was chastised for his relationship with Russia’s head of all the political murders, Putin, was responsible for, he said America is just as guilty—the first time Trump probably told the truth.
In an exclusive interview with the two stars (Max Irons, Smantha Barks) of “Bitter Harvest,” I asked them to talk about the importance of bringing the Holodomor story to the big screen.
Did you two feel any pressure bringing this story to the big screen?
SAMANTHA BARKS: Yes, there was pressure because you want to tell the story truthfully and represent the those who have passed down these stories about the Holodomor.
MAX IRONS: Yes, especially doing something so terrible that happened for so long and so few know about it. You realize as you look at Ukrainian history, it’s been very bleak for centuries. It’s a very big, fertile country, rich in resources, lodged between the powerhouses of Europe and industrialized Russia. Both of whom raped, pillaged and tried to systematically eradicate the culture and the national identity.
In the midst of all this there’s an amazing love story?
SB: Yes, because this is not an uplifting film, and I think it’s an important part, seeing that strength you can give to someone, or someone can give you. I think that’s a strong message.
How relevant do you think this film is today?
MI: Very important. I worry when looking at the headlines because you see how divided we are. We should all f***king, pardon my language, listen to each other a little bit more and have a little more empathy. But, then that’s easier said than done.
Directed by George Mendeluk, “Bitter Harvest” also stars Barry Pepper, Tamer Hassan, and Terence Stamp.
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]
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