The Role of Russia in Alexander Nevsky

Looking at Alexander Nevsky, the role of Russia and the land is crucial to the movie.  Throughout the film, one of the main themes is that their land is sacred and that they must defend it at all costs.  It can be shown that this was propaganda presenting a message to its Russian viewers about the sacredness of their land.  Often, many of Alexander’s quotes appeared to be general enough to apply during that time in 1938 as well as during the time of the film.  There are also instances where it appears that Alexander speaks directly to the camera, appearing so he is talking straight to the audience as seen below

(Time Stamp 7:50)

Alexander’s first appearance, he simply states to the Mongolian who tries to recruit him to be a commander…

“Better to die in your own land than to leave it”.

This also establishes Alexander’s role as a loyal citizen who refuses to leave or willingly give up his land because his land means something significant to him.  To viewers who might be watching this film in Russia, this could help cement a sense of loyalty and help sustain a hero of Alexander Nevsky as a guy who is willing to fight for the Russian homeland.  Later, whenever the German army appears in the film, it appears that there are certain parallels that could help connect the film to a modern audience.  One of the most obvious ones in the German priests have swastikas on their clothing, which was the symbol for the Nazi party during the time of the films release

(Time Stamp 43:28)

Connecting the Germans of the 1200s to the Germans of the 1930s, it makes their invasion of Russia much more personal to the common moviegoer of the time.  By having visual connections between the two German armies, it allows a double meaning to many of the films sayings.  Throughout the film, they sing songs about Russia or songs praising their homeland, but this point can be shown best through the final scene of the movie.  Alexander says

“He who comes to us sword in hand by the sword shall perish.”

This saying is also put in print at the end of the film over a bunch of Russian soldiers from the film.

(Time Stamp 1:47:21)

This could be understood in that context as a propaganda message that Russia will defend our country and any country that would come against Russia would be defeated.  This carries strong meaning during its time literally right before World War II and through the heroics of Alexander Nevsky, could be used to unite the people of Russia through their pride for their land.

Jason Jordan

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