At first sight a fairly conventional tale about a young peasant woman who rebels against a life of hardship, “Her Way” is made into a proto-feminist film by actress Emma Tsesarskaya, “the dark-haired goddess” of the Soviet silent screen. From mixed Jewish-Ukrainian-Moldavian stock, she became one of the Soviet Union’s first Artists of Merit, but her career disintegrated in 1937 when her high-ranking husband was arrested and shot. Here, director Aleksandr Strizhak compares her strength and determination with the forces of nature that rule peasant life.
Forced to marry a brute, Praskovya (Tsesarskaya) is about to become a battered wife on her wedding night when she hauls off and socks him one. When he leaves for WWI, she plows the fields on her own. When a group of POWs is offered to the village women to help out, Praskovya selects a handsome Austrian (Karl Gurniak), who becomes her lover and father of her child, until the Revolution calls him away. At his death, she takes his place in the Red Army, taking their son along with her.