Girl on a Tractor

Cesta ke štěstí (r. Jiří Sequens, 1951)/ Way Leading to Happiness (dir. Jiří Sequens, 1951)


  • Describe the sounds and images of the clip.
  • How would you characterise the clip? What genre do you think it is?
  • Based on the clip alone, how would you characterise the agricultural collective? How would the people in the video characterise the agricultural collective?
  • Why do you think movies like this were produced?


The clip from the period propaganda film Way Leading to Happiness (Cesta ke štěstí) captures the image of tractor stations ploughing down the barriers between fields; i.e., joining together the fields originally owned by private farmers. This image itself concentrates a number of positive aspects of collectivised agriculture, as advocated by the communist regime. This is especially true in terms of equipment (tractors), which were supposed to save farmers work and streamline agriculture. The promise of tractors and the mechanisation of agriculture generally was an important argument for collectivisation. According to period propaganda, the cooperative could use the machinery effectively, as opposed to individual farmers, for whom the purchase of expensive equipment was beyond their means. It also thematises the new role of women in the country. The entire film is the story of a tractor driver and staunch communist, who is the symbol of the new role of women in communism. The film, of course, does not capture the negative aspects of collectivisation (see Oppression). We can use it as an example of contemporary propaganda techniques (e.g. the use of musical elements that are in polyphony refers to the tradition of Russian folklore, rather than to Czech folk songs). Even though the cooperative probably never worked as ideally as depicted here, the clip highlights the promise with which the Communist Party linked radical change in agricultural production and with which some cooperative farmers identified. The social advancement of the population may be still a part of their remembrance (Memory).