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Based on Maxim Gorky’s 1906 novel, Pudovkin’s drama is set against the backdrop of the 1905 Russian Revolution. The film portrays the political awakening of a mother whose son is imprisoned for leading a strike at a local factory. After unwittingly betraying her son to the police, she takes up his cause and joins the workers demonstrating against the Tsarist authorities. Pudovkin, who began his career as an actor, and his wife Anna Zemtsova make cameo appearances.