British actor Tamer Hassan stars alongside Terence Stamp, Barry Pepper, Samantha Barks and Max Irons in a new period drama about one of the most overlooked tragedies of the 20th century. Bitter Harvest is a powerful story of love, honour, rebellion and survival as seen through the eyes of two young lovers caught in the ravages of Joseph Stalin’s genocidal policies against Ukraine in the 1930s.
Filmed on location in Ukraine, this epic love story brings to light one of the most devastating chapters of modern Europe. Tamer Hassan plays Sergei, a brutal Soviet solider sent to oversee the Holodomor – a death by starvation programme – instigated by Stalin and his communists in the Kremlin, which ultimately kills millions. Trying to resist is a young artist named Yuri (Max Irons) and his childhood sweetheart Natalka (Samantha Barks), who must battle famine, imprisonment and torture as they try to survive and save their country.
No stranger to playing villains, Hassan, who has appeared in The Football Factory, The Business and more recently in cult TV series Games of Thrones, told the BBC:
“He’s definitely the worst I’ve ever played. He’s the antichrist, he’s a cold-blooded mass murderer, he’s a paedophile.”
“You want to know why he’s doing what he’s doing, none of us are born evil. He witnessed his mother being murdered in a church. There’s a little bit [in me] that wanted the audience to feel sorry for him or love him, even for a millisecond.”
A Canadian production, the hard-hitting film was co-written and directed by George Mendeluk. It opens today in cinemas the UK and the US. You can see the movie’s trailer below, and click here to see UK screening show times and locations.