Writing about the cinema of the Stalin years: the state of the art.
There have been, broadly, four approaches to writing about the film industry of these years. The first was to study individual films and the careers of individual filmmakers, and here a conservative canon was observed, with most attention paid to the "great directors," to Eisenstein and Pudovkin, Vertov and Dovzhenko, and then, later, to the musicals of Aleksandrov and Pyr'ev. But the singular achievements of many other filmmakers and, more important, the links of these directors to their colleagues through the shared experience of cinematic education, professional organizations, and work in studios were insufficiently explored. (1) The other approaches were the publication, re-publication, and translation of documents, exemplified by The Film Factory, (2) still the most important single volume on the cinema of the period; contributions to the history of the industry in its political context, the approach taken in Richard Taylor's Film Propaganda: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany and The Politics of the Soviet Cinema 1917-1929; (3) and overviews of the cinematic process in historical context, as in Peter Kenez's Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953 and Denise Youngblood's Movies for the Masses) These five pioneering books set the agenda for the development of the study of Stalin period cinema in the West in the late 20th century. It is notable that they concentrated their gaze on the 1920s and early 1930s, which are the years that saw the greatest artistic and political debate about the direction of the industry, and arguably the years of its greatest achievement. The fate and achievements of the industry during wartime and later attracted far less attention, in part because of the inaccessibility of the films of this period.
The approaches outlined above have not changed fundamentally in recent years, but a number of factors have led to a considerable expansion of the study of the subject. First and perhaps most important is that the video and DVD revolution has vastly increased the primary material which is accessible to scholars. Many of these films are re-issued in low-quality editions, poorly framed and with bad sound, and few attempts have been made by Russian publishers to re-issue the original versions of the many films that were de-Stalinized in the Khrushchev years, but it is now possible (indeed essential) to look at the achievements of the great cinematic masters in the context from which they sprang. This context is now being examined in many ambitious documentary films being made by Russian companies, the most innovative and thoughtful of which, Zvezdnye gody Lentil'ma (The Star-Studded Years of Lenfilm), made for the Kul'tura channel, regularly includes footage from extremely rare films of the period.
At the same time, the number of courses in Russian film being offered to students of Western universities has expanded significantly, as has the use of film in courses on Soviet history, politics, and society; and the students in these courses need both films to watch and books and articles to read about them. This material is supplied by the increasing number of scholars researching and teaching Russian film, many of whom are making broad and effective use of archival materials. It is published in an ever-expanding range of outlets. Well-established journals of Russian Studies are increasingly ready to publish on Russian film, while new film journals have come into existence. The most ambitious of these, and a continuing source of material of fundamental importance to scholars, is Kinavedcheskie zapiski, which began to appear in 1988 and has now published over 90 substantial issues. (5) In Britain the first English-language journal devoted solely to the subject, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, edited by Birgit Beumers, is now in its third year. Another development of major significance has been the online publication of almost complete runs of the most important Soviet film journals and newspapers of the period 1917-42, which has made the detailed debates about the role of the industry and the reception of individual films much more easily accessible. (6) This is an exciting time to be studying Soviet film.
Peasants, The Party Card, Cold War Cinema
The articles published in this issue of Kritika continue and expand two of the approaches outlined above. Andrey Shcherbenok's study of Fridrikh Ermler's Krest'iane (Peasants) and Ivan Pyr'ev's Partiinyi bilet (The Party Card) offers an incisive example of the approach in which the analysis of individual films can enhance our understanding both of their directors' overall concerns and evolution and of the mentality of the society in which they are produced. In doing so, he contributes to the broadening of our understanding of the achievement of two important directors, taking the close study of Ermler's films into areas beyond his major works of the 1920s and reminding us that Pyr'ev was very much more than a maker of musicals. (7) Both of these films have been the subject of scrutiny in recent years, (8) but it is extremely illuminating to see them compared as they are here, since both have, as central characters, a married couple of whom the husband is a secret enemy and the wife is more politically orthodox, and in both a pivotal role in the evolution of the plot is played by a fatherly party official. Yet Shcherbenok reveals how significant differences in the representation of the internal enemy in films made in consecutive years can shed light on the changing political situation and his psychoanalytical approach to the study of the behavior and motivation of the wives, and in particular of Varvara's extraordinary dream of Stalin in Peasants, shows just how useful such an examination of characters in Soviet novels and films can be in revealing the ambiguities and anxieties of the period. (9)
Despite its title reference to the "early Cold War," Sergei Kapterev's study opens by examining the film friendship of the Soviet and American allies in the war years, including the reports sent from Hollywood by the director Mikhail Kalatozov, who was, from the summer of 1943, the representative in Hollywood of the Cinema Committee of the Council of People's Commissars. It then provides a detailed and thoughtful survey of the reception and possible influence of American and other Western films in the period of High Stalinism. (10) The popularity of the so-called "Trophy" films in the postwar years has been well attested in the fiction and memoirs of such writers as Vasilii Aksenov and Joseph Brodsky. (11) The dogged, naive, and ultimately doomed attempts by Hollywood's representatives to make an official, profit-making entry into the Soviet film market are not, however, widely known; and Kapterev's archivally based report on the tortuous process, marked throughout by misconception and mistrust, is absorbing and revealing. The Soviet negotiators were torn between warring economic and ideological impulses--desperate to keep alien influence at bay, they nevertheless needed the money that distribution of these films would bring. As Kapterev notes, this situation mirrored that of the 1920s, when the receipts from showing American and other Western films had helped launch the Soviet industry, but in the postwar years the films had dialogue and the ideological situation was more highly charged, so there was an even more intricate system of selecting and editing the Western films that did make it to Soviet screens. (12)
Yet despite the fact that the film-exchange and film-purchase negotiations of those years came to nothing, the films were seen, both by politicians and bureaucrats and by filmmakers, and some of the most thought-provoking pages of Kapterev's article are devoted to the hidden stylistic influence of Hollywood cinema--its concern with the grand scale, its high production values, its system of genres, even the practices of film hair are all shown to have influenced the ideologically very different Soviet productions of these and subsequent years. (13) (As an example of another kind of Hollywood influence, or of elements of a common Zeitgeist among the victorious allies, we might consider the paradoxically "consumerist" happy ending of Iulii Raizman's Kavaler Zolotai zvezdy [The Chevalier of the Golden Star, 1950], in which the newly married central couple go out for a drive in the country in their brand-new car.) (14)
Sometimes, indeed, American equipment, acquired by fair means or foul, was instrumental in creating the effects in Soviet films, from the cameras used onkey Cold War films to the Max Factor makeup which, Kapterev reveals, Grigorii Aleksandrov ordered in an attempt to conceal his wife Liubov" Orlova's advancing years in the close-ups in Vesna (Spring, 1947). These stylistic connections can be very fruitfully pursued by Kapterev and other scholars.
The study finishes with an interesting coda on the Khrushchev years, when negotiations were re-opened and film exchanges began, before coming to the provocative conclusion that in bringing new images and unorthodox visions and values to Soviet viewers the American cinematic infiltration of these years served as harbinger and microcosm of the Western influences that eventually undermined belief among Soviet citizens in the Soviet system and Soviet society itself. (15)
Though their approaches are very different, Shcherbenok's and Kapterev's articles combine close attention to detail with original and challenging general conclusions, qualities that characterize the best current writing on Stalin-period film. The rest of this piece is devoted to an attempt to survey some of the most noteworthy new studies of the subject and the ways in which they are shaping further research.
The Film Process
Some of the most important publications of recent years are collections of archival documents, filmographies, and chronologies of the period, several of them published in connection with the celebration of the centenary of feature film production in Russia in 2008. Cumulatively, their publication has altered the landscape in which scholars of the subject work. It has long been a commonplace in writing on the period, for example, to state that Stalin, "film fan no. 1," watched films before release, commented upon them, made editing changes, and so on. But the publication of the notes taken by Boris Shumiatskii, then head of Soiuzkino, at Kremlin film showings from 1934 to 1937 has enabled us to follow the deliberations about individual films in dizzying detail while simultaneously shedding a cold light on the self-preserving deference of members of Stalin's entourage, even in matters of cinematic taste. (16) The story of the Party's regulation of the industry and its effect on industry practitioners has also been related in more detail than ever before in Kremlevskii kinoteatr, I928-1953 (The Kremlin's Movie Theater, 1928-53), a massive volume in which a 70-page overview of the material by the chief editor, Leonid Maksimenkov, is followed by the publication of 394 documents collected from a wide range of archival and printed sources and ranging from Politburo resolutions to letters to Stalin. Though the documents cover the entire period and each year is represented, the material is heavily concentrated on the epic ideological struggles of the 1930s, from which almost 270 of the documents date. (17)
There are 32 documents in Kremlevskii kinoteatr from the years of the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), but the key source of information on the cinematic process during those years is the 376 annotated documents in Valerii Fomin's equally weighty Kino na voine (The Cinema at War), (18) which includes reports to the Politburo and orders to filmmakers, complaints about excessive interference from the cinematic authorities, assessments of individual films, letters, and memoirs. It publishes new information about the organization of the studios, the experience of evacuation, the links to the wartime allies. There is a list, drawn up in secret on 30 October 1940, and revealing of the varied cinematic menu that was thought necessary for the maintenance of morale, of almost 200 films, features, shorts, documentaries, and filmed songs, "recommended for showing in wartime." Those underlined as "particularly recommended," include Circus, Chapaev, and Lenin in October. (19) One of the documents in Kino na voine is an edited version of the proceedings of a discussion about the Soviet films of 1944 held at the Dom kino in Moscow in February 1945. (20) This is reprinted in full in another new volume, Vaina na ekrane (The War on Screen), (21) along with a survey of the contemporary foreign press reaction to Soviet documentaries and feature films about the war shown abroad. (22)
A complementary overview of the period to that provided by the publication of documents is presented in the immensely ambitious and fundamentally important Letopis" rassiiskogo kino (Annals of the Russian Cinema), of which two volumes, taking the story to 1945, have so far been published. (23) They include information (much of it unpublishable in similar volumes which appeared in the Soviet period) about state and party policy in the area of film, the history of cinema organizations, the careers of individuals, the release of films, bannings and unrealized projects, and Russian cinema in emigration. Almost 7,000 "cinema events" are covered in the first volume, over 9,300 in the second. Often there is a day-by-day chronology of what was happening in Soviet cinema. Less monumental but also of great interest and value to scholars are a filmography of early Soviet color films; (24) a bibliography and overview of the career of Boris Shumiatskii, who ran the Soviet industry from 1930 until his arrest and execution in 1938; (25) and a list of American films in Soviet and Russian distribution from 1929 to 1998. After the heady days of the 1920s, when Soviet audiences feasted on the same American and European films as viewers in other nations, only eight new American films achieved Soviet distribution in the 1930s: Michael Curtiz's The Cabin in the Cotton, Lloyd Corrigan's short comedy La Cucaracha, James
Whale's Wells adaptation The Invisible Man, Chaplin's City Lights and Modern Times, and three Disney cartoons. (26)
Further information on both the cinematic careers of individuals and the atmosphere of the time is provided in the memoirs of protagonists in the cinematic process, notably those of the influential critic and State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) teacher Rostislav Iurenev, who remembers his student years at VGIK in the 1930s and his encounters with Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Pyr'ev, and Romm in the difficult postwar years. (27) When the First Moscow International Film Festival was held in February-March 1935, students used every ruse possible to get into the showings. Eisenstein, the chairman of the jury, took them in with the cry "They're with me!" or they forged false tickets with watercolors or, most effectively, stormed past the ticket-checkers in a mighty wave. Thus Iurenev was able to see Viva Villa! Rene Clair's Le dernier milliardaire, and his beloved Disney cartoons. (28)
Taken together, all the documentary and memoir material outlined above has massively enhanced our understanding of both the contexts and the achievements of the film industry in the Stalin years.
New light on the Party's control of the cinematic process is cast by current archive-based work by Jamie Miller and Valerii Fomin. In a series of articles and a forthcoming book, Miller examines the industry in the 1930s from a number of angles. He looks at technical and economic aspects, including Shumiatskii's abortive plans for massive expansion of the number of films made, cinema attendance, and state revenues and reminds us of the numbers of earlier films that were still in distribution in the 1930s due to lack of sufficient new product. (29) He examines the work of the State Institute of Cinematography in the wake of the January 1929 Central Committee decree "On the Strengthening of Cinema Cadres," considering the role of teachers such as the directors Eisenstein and Kuleshov and the cinematographer Vladimir Nil'sen but also the limitations placed upon practical work by the lack of the most basic teaching resources. (30) He also surveys the measures taken when the industry failed to deliver, the purging of organizations and individuals. (31) Miller suggests that the reason for the predominance of administrators among cinematic victims of the purges, particularly in the late 1930s, was that their greater foreign links at a time of increasing distrust of possible outside influence increased their susceptibility to charges of being hidden "enemies." Thus the anxieties expressed in the films discussed in Andrey Shcherbenok's article are played out in reality.
The indispensible and indefatigable Valerii Fomin has already published extensively on the state intervention that led to the shelving of key films of the later Soviet years. (32) Now in an ongoing series of archive-based articles in the journals Kinofarum and Rodina he has turned his acute intelligence to the fate of the industry in the Stalin years. (33) Cumulatively these articles amount to an overview of the external factors affecting the filmmaking process in the Stalin era and of the context in which films were made.
Films and Filmmakers in Context
For some, of course, the experience of these years included temporary or permanent emigration, and in his imposing and evocatively illustrated "Raby nemogo" ("Slaves of the Silent"), which draws upon his extensive knowledge of the foreign press of the period, Rashit Iangirov provides a comprehensive survey of the fates of Russian emigres working in European and American cinema, from the entrepreneurs Thiemann, Khanzhonkov, and Drankov to the actor Ivan Mozzhukhin's "Hollywood mirage" and the experiences of those who earned a living as extras in the studios of Berlin, Paris, and California. (34)
Another kind of overview, based on close readings of the Stalin period films set in the pre-Soviet and revolutionary past, has recently been provided by Evgeny Dobrenko. His Stalinist Cinema and the Production of History, (35) the first English-language volume devoted solely to the cinema of the Stalin years, examines the construction of a usable past in the historical films of the era. It contends that Stalinist cinema turned the past into a museum and that "the Soviet museum of history is a kind of metaphor for those transformations which the past underwent in the process of de-realization in Soviet ideological doctrine." (36) Dobrenko offers new readings of the many biographical films of the period about military and naval heroes and about historical leaders, from Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great to Sten'ka Razin and Georgii Saakadze. He looks at films about the makers of the Revolution, both real, in the Lenin films of Mikhail Romm, and invented, in the Maksim trilogy of Grigorii Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg. Andrey Shcherbenok has shown Sergei Kirov to be a hidden presence in Ermler's Peasants. Dobrenko shows that interest out in the open in Ermler's next films, the epic two-part Kirov biography The Great Citizen (1937 and 1939). Where Shcherbenok has found "traumatic antagonism lurking at the heart of communist collective solidarity" (765) in Peasants, so Dobrenko considers the "fundamental task" of The Great Citizen to be "projecting ... a paranoid view of the world on to the whole of society, with the aim of mobilizing it, by means of strengthening its feelings of anxiety, defenselessness, and loss." (37) The book is also particularly interesting on the film versions of literary classics, from the plays of Ostrovskii to the adaptations of Gor'kii's autobiographical trilogy by Mark Donskoi, revealing how Stalinist cinematic culture remade these works to its own ideological ends. (38) It combines challenging new readings of familiar films with extended attention to others that have long languished in oblivion, such as Ivan Pravov and Ol'ga Preobrazhenskaia's Stepan Razin (1939). (39)
The interest in the cinematic representation of military struggle shown by Dobrenko is also reflected in Denise Youngblood's Russian War Films, which surveys the way in which Russian cinema has portrayed the country's involvement in a number of 20h-century wars. (40) It considers both the treatment of World War I and the Civil War in the films of the 1920s and 1930s and the films about World War II made during the war and in the late Stalin years. (41) Russian cinematic interest in the Great Patriotic War has never waned, and the recent celebration of the 60th anniversary of the war's end has led to renewed scholarly interest in the films it spawned. (42)
Another theme to have come to the center of scholarly attention in recent years is that of the outsider, and specifically the foreigner, who figures in Stalin-era films in a variety of roles, ranging from communist rebels against Nazi Germany, to pert and gullible visitors to Moscow, dastardly spies, and agents of foreign powers fomenting dissent along the Soviet border. The very large number of films either set abroad or including foreign characters, as well as the changing representation of these characters in line with political developments, makes this another fertile area for further study. (43)
Other scholars have turned to the examination of genre. The powerful melodramatic impulse in the Soviet films of the 1920s and 1930s has provoked an insightful article from Petr Bagrov. (44) The role of the western in Soviet cinema is surveyed in the first book on the subject, by Sergei Lavrent'ev. As Sergei Kapterev has noted of a later period, even when American films were removed from Soviet screens their hidden presence continued through stylistic influence, and in the 1930s the model of the western lies behind both the mise-en-scene and the plot construction of the famous "psychic attack" scene in Chapaev, to quote but one example. Lavrent'ev covers the main points of this story, from the popularity of American westerns among Soviet audiences in the 1920s to the sensational success of John Sturges's The Magnificent Seven in 1962, and follows the traces of the genre in Soviet productions, beginning with Ivan Perestiani's Krasnye d'iavoliata (Little Red Devils, 1923) and Lev Kuleshov's Neobychainy eprikliucheniia mistera Vesta v strane bol'shevikov (The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks, 1924). He points to the links between Mikhail Romm's Trinadtsat" (The Thirteen, 1936), set in the deserts of Kara-Kum, and John Ford's The Last Patrol (1934) (45) and examines the phenomenal popularity, at the end of the Stalin years, of Konstantin Iudin's Smelye liudi (Bold People, 1950). (46) But this is not an academic study, which necessarily limits its value to scholars.
Sound was a determining factor in the evolution of Soviet cinema in the 1930s; and an important recent collection, Sovetskaia vlast" i media (Soviet Power and the Media), contains a number of suggestive articles on the consequences of its introduction. (47) Among the most important is Evgenii Margolit's probing discussion of the implications of multilingualism in a number of key early sound films. (48) Several scholars have also recently been preoccupied with the look of the films of the period. Oksana Bulgakowa led the way in her brilliant and original Fabrika zhestov (Factory of Gestures), which is full of penetrating insights into the meaning of details of gesture and demeanor in dozens of Stalin-era films. (49) Meanwhile, in his staggeringly well-informed study, Soviet Mainstream Cinematography, (50) Philip Cavendish affords to the role of the camera operator, and to the creative and sometimes fruitfully tense relationship between the camera operator and the director, an attention and a recognition that have hitherto been denied them. He looks closely at the contributions of a number of the leading cinematographers of the period, including Aleksandr Levitskii,
Konstantin Kuznetsov, Grigorii Giber, Dmitrii Fel'dman, Evgenii Shneider, Evgenii Mikhailov, Iurii Zheliabuzhskii, Petr Ermolov, and Louis Forestier; and his interest in the film's surface elicits suggestive new readings of scenes is such well-known works as Iakov Protazanov's Aelita (1924) and Abram Room's Tret 'ia Meshchanskaia (Bed and Sofa, 1927). Along the way he has incisive things to say about the links and differences between Soviet films of the 1920s (this book's center of gravity) and the German and American product that was showing in Soviet cinemas at the time; and about the influence on Russian film of the methods of photography and of Russian and European painting. The book ends with a thoughtful examination of the changes to the camera operator's role brought about by the introduction of the sound film and the advent of Socialist Realism. Emma Widdis, the author of the influential Visions af a New Land, has also produced pioneering studies of the visual generation of meaning. (51) In "Dressing the Part" she reveals the coding of belonging and otherness through the clothes of the protagonists in the Soviet films of the 1930s and 1940s. (52) In a more recent article she examines the theory and practice of set design in films of the late 1920s and the contribution of pattern and object to key films of the period. (53) These, too, are clearly important directions for further research.
A different kind of originality is shown by Lilya Kaganovsky in How the SovietMan Was Unmade, in which, like Professor Shcherbenok in the article published in this issue of Kritika, she productively combines psychoanalytic theory and Slavonic Studies. The fourth chapter of this compelling and important book looks at the "Heterosexual Panic" displayed by the protagonists of a number of films of the period, from Boris Barnet's U samogo sinego moria (By the Bright Blue Sea, 1935) to Semen Timoshenko's Nebesnyi tikhokhod (The Sky-Barge/The Celestial Sloth, 1945). Reading against conventional interpretations of these predominantly soldier and pilot heroes, Kaganovsky finds them refusing to participate in traditionally assigned gender roles, relishing the bonds of homosociality, and responding to the demands made upon them by Stalinist culture through hysteria and illness. (54)
Publications about individual filmmakers, both the key figures of the age and their less illustrious contemporaries, continue to be central to the study of the cinema of the Stalin years. It is not possible, in the space available here, to do more than mention some of the most important new work in this area. There have been large volumes of the writings of Dziga Vertov and of the contemporary critical responses to his films; (55) regular publications in Kinovedcheskie zapiski of writings by Eisenstein and new interpretations of his films, and a special edition of the journal devoted to the work of Iakov Protazanov, including a new and comprehensive filmography; (56) a book-length study of Pudovkin's Potomok Chingiz-Khana (Heir of Genghis Khan, known in the West as Storm over Asia, 1928), which contains fascinating information about the historical and ethnographic background to the film; (57) and revealing studies in journals and collections of some less well-known individual films of the period. (58)
More of the films of the Stalin period are easily accessible than ever before. Important publications of archival documents in scrupulously annotated editions have greatly increased our knowledge of the industry and political context. More and more scholars are using this material, bringing evidence from more and more films into the scholarly debate, applying a proliferation of approaches and posing a variety of questions. In this context we can look forward to further work on the ambiguous relationships between filmmakers and those who sought to guide them; on the networks of influence and of shared interests that linked the filmmakers active in the period; on the careers of such "second-rank" directors as Barnet and Ermler, Romm and Room, and the Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS) masters Kozintsev and Trauberg and of the great Soviet screen actors; on the tastes of Soviet audiences and the reception of individual films; on themes and genres, such as the musical, not yet examined in systematic form; and on the profiles and the fluctuating fortunes of studios and cinema organizations. Stalinist cinema is now closer than ever to the mainstream occupied by literature as a key artistic source for understanding both the society and the cultural aspirations of the period and the mentalities and experiences of the Stalinist citizen.
School of Slavonic and East European Studies
University College London
London WC1E 6BT
(1) On the survival of the Soviet cinematic canon, see Ian Christie, "Canons and Careers: The Director in Soviet Cinema," in Stalinism and Soviet Cinema, ed. Richard Taylor and Derek Spring (London: Routledge, 1993), 142-70, 250-56. In the same way, early studies of later directors such as Tarkovskii and Paradzhanov tended to treat them as singular geniuses who emerged fully formed out of nowhere.
(2) Richard Taylor and Ian Christie, eds., The Film Factory: Russian and soviet Cinema in Documents, 1896-1939 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
(3) Richard Taylor, Film Propaganda: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany (London: Croom Helm, 1979; 2nd rev. ed., London: I. B. Tauris, I998); Richard Taylor, The Polities of the Soviet Cinema, 1917-1929 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).
(4) Peter Kenez, Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Denise Youngblood, Movies for the Masses: Popular Cinema and Soviet Society in the 1920s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
(5) Though Kinovedcheskie zapiski is not completely devoted to Russian film, study of the Russian and Soviet industries is its predominant focus. See www.kinozapiski.ru.
(6) See the BrilI-IDC Primary Sources Online resource on Soviet cinema at www.primarysourcesonline. nl/c34.
(7) On Ermler's 1920s films, see especially Youngblood, Movies for the Masses, 139-52. For important recent studies of Ermler, see Petr Bagrov, "Zhitie partiinogo khudozhnika," Seans, nos. 35-36 (2008): 316-39; and Evgenii Margolit, "Dva portreta na fone odnoi epokhi," ibid., 340-44. On Pyr'ev's musicals, see especially Evgenii Dobrenko, "Muzyka vmesto sumbura (Narodnost' kak problema sovetskoi muzykal'noi kinokomedii)," Revue des etudes slaves 67, 2-3 (1995): 407-33; Richard Taylor, "Singing on the Steppes for Stalin: Ivan Pyr'ev and the Kolkhoz Musical in Soviet Cinema," Slavic Review 58, 1 (1999): 143-59; and Maiia Turovskaia, "I. A. Pyr'ev i ego muzykal'nye komedii: K probleme zhanra," Kinovedcheskie zapiski, no. 1 (1988): 111-46.
(8) Professor Shcherbenok refers to the article on Krest'iane by Peter [Petr] Bagrov in the January 2007 issue of the online journal KinoKultura and to studies of Partiinyi bilet by Evgenii Margolit in Iskusstvo kino, no. 8 (1997) and by Lilya Kaganovsky in her How the SovietMan Was Unmade: Cultural Fantasy and Male Subjectivity under Stalin (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008). (An earlier version of Kaganovsky's discussion appeared in Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the Revolution Inside, ed. Christina Kiaer and Eric Naiman [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006], 35-60.) The Party Cardis also discussed in detail in Jamie Miller, Politics and Persuasion under Stalin (London: I.B. Tauris, forthcoming in 2010).
(9) Professor Shcherbenok also discusses the representation of desire in Soviet film in his introduction to a cluster of articles on "Russian/Soviet screened sexuality" in Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 3, 2 (2009): 135-44. One of the articles in the cluster is devoted to the Stalin period, considering spectatorship and the eroticization of female characters in some key Soviet films of the late 1930s, including those of Pyr'ev: Anne Eakin Moss, "Stalin's Harem: The Spectator's Dilemma in Late 1930s Soviet Film," ibid., 157-72.
(10) For other recent surveys of the films of the early Cold War period, see, for example, Evgenii Dobrenko, "Late Stalinist Cinema and the Cold War: An Equation without Unknowns," Modern Language Review 98, 4 (2003): 929-44; Valerii Fomin, "'Pomatrosili i brosili...,'" Kinoforum, no. 1 (2006): 48-67, and no. 2: 51-71; and Maiia Turovskaia, "Fil'my 'kholodnoi voiny' kak dokumenty emotsii vremeni," in Istoriia strany: Istoriia kino, ed. S. S. Sekirinskii (Moscow: Znak, 2004), 202-17.
(11) Kapterev discusses the writings ofVasilii Aksenov. For Brodsky's memoir, see Joseph Brodsky, "Spoils of War," in his On Grief and Reason: Essays (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1995), 3-21; and compare Apollon Davidson, "Besnovataia deistvitel'nost'," Iskusstvo kino, no. 10 (1997): 131-35.
(12) On the editing of foreign films in the 1920s, see Yuri Tsivian, "The Wise and Wicked Game: Reediting, Foreignness, and Soviet Film Culture of the Twenties," in Insiders and Outsiders in Russian Cinema, ed. Stephen M. Norris and Zara M. Torlone (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 23-47.
(13) A publication in Kinograf lists 53 American films that were released on Soviet screens in the years 1946-53. All of them were made between 1932 and 1942. See V. Kozlov, ed., with an introduction by A. Doroshevich, "Spisok amerikanskikh fil'mov v sovetskom i rossiiskom prokate, 1929-1998," Knograf, no. 16 (2005): 175-208; and Elena Kartseva, "Amerikanskie fil'my na rossiiskikh kinoekranakh," ibid., 208-17.
(14) It is nevertheless notable that, in an underlining of political orthodoxy, the demobilized tankdriver hero, Sergei Tutarinov, in the last words of the film's epilogue, interprets the plenty they see around them, including a new hydro-electric station, as follows: "Ty vidish', chto kommunizm uzhe blizok, osiazaem, chto vot on--pered natal" (You see that communisnl is already near; we can sense that it is right in front of us).
(15) On the film-exchange negotiations in the Khrushchev years, see also Walter L. Hixson, Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945-1961 (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1997), 154-56.
(16) The notes have been published in two different editions, with usefully complementary critical apparatuses. The first publication is A. S. Troshin, ed., "'A driani podobno "Garmon'" bol'she ne stavite? ...' Zapisi besed B. Z. Shumiatskogo s I. V. Stalinym posle kinoprosmotrov, 1934 g.," Kinovedcheskie zapishi, no. 61 (2002): 281-346; and Troshin, ed., "'Kartina sil'naia, khoroshaia, no ne "Chapaev" ...' Zapisi besed B. Z. Shumiatskogo s I. V. Stalinym posle kinoprosmotrov, 1935-1937 gg.," Kinovedcheskiezapiski, no. 62 (2003): t 15-88; the second is "Zapisi besed B. Z. Shumiatskogo s I. V. Stalinym posle kinoprosmotrov, 7 maia 1934 g.-26 ianvaria 1937 g.," in Kremlevskii kinoteatr, 1928-1953: Dokumenty, ed. K. M. Anderson, L. V. Maksimenkov, et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2005), 919-1053, documents 332-94.
(17) Maksimenkov et al., eds., Kremlewkii kinoteatr. A handful of other documents from 1948-49 are published in D. G. Nadzhafov and Z. S. Belousova, eds., Stalin i kosmopolitizm, 1945-1953: Dokumenty Agitpropa TsK (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnyi fond "Demokratiia"; Materik, 2005).
(18) Valerii Fomin, ed., Kino na voine: Dokumenty i svidetel'stva (Moscow: Materik, 2005).
(19) Ibid., 60-63.
(20) Ibid., 710-49.
(21) Mark Zak and Iu. Mikheeva, eds., Voina na ekrane (Moscow: Materik, 2006), 101-62.
(22) Ibid., 163-222.
(23) A. S. Deriabin, ed., Letopis" rossiiskogo kino, 1863-1929 (Moscow: Materik, 2004); Deriabin, ed., Letopis" rossiiskogo kino, 1930-1945 (Moscow: Materik, 2007).
(24) Aleksandr Deriabin, ed., "Rannie otechestvennye tsvemye fil'my, 1931-1945: Fil'mografiia," Kinovedcheskiezapiski, no. 56 (2002): 322-48.
(25) Tat'iana Simacheva, "Otechestvennoe kino v litsakh: Boris Shumiatskii," Kinografl no. 18 (2007): 94-133; and no. 19 (2008): 56-159.
(26) Kozlov, "Spisok amerikanskikh fil'mov v sovetskom i rossiiskom prokate 1929-1998"; Kartseva, 'Amerikanskie ill'my na rossiiskikh kinoekranakh.' (This supplements the filmography of American silent films released in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, which was published as long ago as 1960: see E. N. Kartseva, "Amerikanskie nemye ill'my v sovetskom prokate," Kino i vremia, no. 1 : 193-325.)
(27) R. N. Iurenev, Vopravdanie etoi zhizni (Moscow: Materik, 2007).
(28) Ibid., 196.
(29) Jamie Miller, "Soviet Cinema, 1929-1941: The Development of Industry and Infrastructure," Europe-Asia Studies 58, 1 (2006): 103-24.
(30) Jamie Miller, "Educating the Filmmakers: The State Institute of Cinematography in the 1930s," Slavonic and East European Review 85, 3 (2007): 462-90.
(31) Jamie Miller, "The Purges of Soviet Cinema, 1929-38," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1, 1 (2007): 5-26. Dr. Miller broadens his analysis of the cinema of the 1930s in his Politics and Persuasion under Stalin, which also looks in detail at such films as Grigorii Aleksandrov's Tsirk (Circus, 1936), Pyr'ev's The Party Card, and Ermler's Velikii grazhdanin (The Great Citizen, 1937 and 1939).
(32) See, for example, Valerii Fomin, ed., "Polka" Dokurnenty, svidetel'stva, kommentarii (Moscow: NIIK, 1992); Fomin, ed., Kino i vlast': Sovetskoe kino, 1965-1985 gody. Dokumenty, svidetel'stva, razmyshleniia (Moscow: Materik, 1996); and Fomin, ed., Kinematograf ottepeli: Dokumenty i svidetel'stva (Moscow: Materik, 1998).
(33) Eleven of Fomin's articles on this subject were available to this writer at the time of writing. In "Kak zakalialas' stal': Sovetskoe mnogonatsional'noe, 30-e," Kinofarum, no. 4 (2006): 50-73, he looks at industry developments in a single year, 1930. In "Kak sozdavalsia kinokolkhoz 'Sovetskoe mnogonatsional'noe,'" Kinoforum, no. 1 (2007): 50-73, he continues the story to the mid-1930s. "Kak sozdavalsia kinokolkhoz 'Sovetskoe mnogonatsional'noe': Grezy o sovetskom Gollivude," Kinoforum, no. 3 (2008): 29-71, is the fullest survey yet of the doomed plans to create a new Soviet studio and to transform the capacity of the industry (the story is told in a shorter version in "Sovetskii Gollivud: Razbitye mechty," Rodina, no. 5 (2006): 98-105). "'Sovetskoe mnogonatsional'noe': Ispytanie voinoi," Kinoforum, no. 2 (2005): 26-44, and no. 3 (2005): 44-58, describes the evacuation, the work in Central Asian studios, and the harshness of both physical and political conditions. "Tsena kadra: Kazhdyi vtoroi--ranen. Kazhdyi chetvertyi--ubit... Iz istorii frontovoi kinozhurnalistiki," in his Vaina na ekrane, 17-46, catalogues the sacrifices made by frontline cameramen. "'Pomatrosili i brosili'" describes the postwar situation, particularly in the republican studios, and the wave of attacks on filmmakers and their films. The relationship of filmmakers with the security organs is also the subject of "Ot kamery do kamery: Sovetskoe kino. Vid s Lubianki," Rodina, no. 12 (2007): 59-66, and no. 2 (2008): 85-92 (the second part of this study covers the post-Stalin period).
(34) Rashit Iangirov, "Raby nemogo" Ocherki istoricheskogo byta russkikh kinematograflstov za rubezhom 1920-1930-egody (Moscow: Biblioteka-fond Russkoe zarubezh'e and Russkii put', 2007).
(35) Evgeny Dobrenko, Stalinist Cinema and the Production of History: Museum of the Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).
(36) Ibid., 11.
(37) Ibid., 232.
(38) Donskoi's trilogy is also assessed in Stephen Hutchings, Russian Literary Culture in the Camera Age: The Ward as Image (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), 102-9. The volume looks at other cinematic versions of literary classics, both Soviet and foreign, and provides a particularly illuminating reading (97-102) of the finding of a "usable past" in the Sovietized screen version of Treasure Island (Ostrov sokrovishch, 1937, directed by Vladimir Vainshtok).
(39) This study has also been published in a longer Russian-language version, Evgenii Dobrenko, Muzei revoliutsii: Sovetskoe kino i stalinskii istoricheskii narrativ (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2008). There are six chapters in the English version, nine in the Russian. One of the additional chapters (chap. 9 of the Russian edition), devoted mainly to two films about revolutionary commanders, Chapaev and Shchors, is available in English as "Creation Myth and Myth Creation in Stalinist Cinema," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1, 3 (2007): 239-64.
(40) Denise Youngblood, Russian War Films: On the Cinema Front, 1914-2005 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007).
(41) Ibid., 18-54, 55-106.
(42) See, in addition to the publication of documents mentioned above, a number of articles about wartime feature films and documentaries in Fomin's Voina na ekrane. This volume also contains a filmography of films about the war made in the Soviet Union and Russia between 1942 and 2004 running to 368 items (the total would already be considerably greater). On the films of World War II, see also Neia Zorkaia, "Vizual'nye obrazy voiny," Neprikosnovennyi zapas, no. 40-41 (2005): 377-87.
(43) Six of thenine articles in Norris and Torlone's Insiders and Outsiders in Russian Cinema are about the films of the Stalin period. For a pioneering essay on the foreign theme in Soviet films of the period, see Irina Mel'nikova, "Iaponskaia tema v 'oboronnykh' fil'makh 30-kh godov," Japanese Slavic and East European Studies 23, 1 (2002): 57-81.
(44) Peter Bagrov, "Soviet Melodrama: A Historical Overview" (www.kinokultura.com/2007/17-bagrov.shtml). Another key text on the subject, mentioned by Bagrov, and covering the whole Soviet period, is Evgenii Margolit, "Melodrama v sovetskom kino," in Noveishaia istoriia otechestvennogo kino, 1986-2000, 6: Kino i kontekst, 1992-1996, ed. Liubov' Arkus (St. Petersburg: Seans, 2004), 227-37.
(45) The link between these films is examined in Kristian Feigelson, with Annabelle Creissel, "Ford, fordisme et stalinisme," in Camera politique: Cinema et stalinisme, ed. Feigelson (Paris: Presses Sorbonne nouvelle, 2005), 73-83.
(46) Sergei Lavrent'ev, Krasnyi vestern (Moscow: Algoritm, 2009).
(47) Khans Giunter [Hans Giinther] and Sabina Khengsen [Sabine Hansgen], eds., Sovetshaia vlast" i media (St. Petersburg: Akademicheskii proekt, 2006). The 5 articles on sound cinema (329-95) are among 18 articles in the volume on the cinema of the period.
(48) Evgenii Margolit, "Problema mnogoiazychiia v rannem sovetskom zvukovom kino (1930-1935)," in ibid., 378-86. If Valerii Fomin is an indispensible source for understanding the context of Stalinist cinema, then we must always also look to the formidably incisive Margolit for readings both of the process and of the films themselves. Among his recent articles on the cinema of the 1930s are "Fenomen agitpropfil'ma i prikhod zvuka v sovetskoe kino," Kinovedcheskie zapiski, no. 84 (2007): 255-66; "'Sluzhenie dal'nim': Razmyshleniia o sovetskom kinoavangarde v kontekste retrospektivy 'Sotsialisticheskii avangardizm,'" Kinovedcheskie zapiski, nos. 89-90 (2008-9): 354-62; and, with Marianna Kireeva, "Fil'ma, kotorogo ne bylo: 'Tommi' i problemy zvukovogo kino v SSSR," Kinovedcheskie zapiski, no. 88 (2008): 44-52.
(49) Oksana Bulgakova [Bulgakowa], Fabrika zhestov (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2005).
(50) Philip Cavendish, Soviet Mainstream Cinematography: The Silent Era (London: UCL Arts and Humanities Publications, 2008).
(51) Emma Widdis, Visions of a New Land: Soviet Film from the Revolution to the Second World War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).
(52) Emma Widdis, "Dressing the Part: Clothing Otherness in Soviet Cinema before 1953," in Insiders and Outsiders in Russian Cinema, 48-67; for a Russian version of this article, see Emma Viddis [Widdis], "Kostium, predopredelennyi rol'iu: Oblachenie 'Drugogo' v sovetskom kinematografe do 1953 goda," Teoriia mody, no. 3 (2007): 163-86.
(53) Emma Widdis, "Faktura: Depth and Surface in Early Soviet Set Design," Studies in Russian andSoviet Cinema 3, 1 (2009): 5-32. The films discussed in depth here are Room's Predatel" (The Traitor, 1926)and Kuleshov's Vasha znakomaia (Your Acquaintance, 1927).
(54) Kaganovsky, How the Soviet Man Was Unmade, 67-118, here 68.
(55) Dziga Vertov, Iz naslediia, 1 : Dramaturgicheskie opyty, ed. A. S. Deriabin and V. S. Listov (Moscow: Eizenshtein-Tsentr, 2004), and 2: Stat'i i vystupleniia, ed. D. V. Kruzhkova and S. M. Ishevskaia (Moscow: Eizenshtein-Tsentr, 2008); Yuri Tsivian, ed., Lines of Resistance: Dziga Vertov and the Twenties (Gemona: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, 2004).
(56) Kinovedcheskie zapiski, no. 88 (2008). For the filmography, preceded by a lengthy introduction, see 346-409.
(57) Amy Sargeant, Storm over Asia (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007).
(58) See, for example, Lilya Kaganovsky, "Forging Soviet Masculinity in Nikolai Ekk's The Road to Life," in Gender and National Identity in Twentieth-Century Russian Culture, ed. Helena Goscilo and Andrea Lanoux (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006), 93-114; Alastair Renfrew, "Against Adaptation? The Strange Case of (Pod)Poruchik Kizhe," Modern Language Review 102, 1 (2007): 157-76; Kaganovsky, "The Voice of Technology and the End of Soviet Silent Film: Grigorii Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg's Alone," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1, 3 (2007): 265-81; John Haynes, "Film as Political Football: The Goalkeeper," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1, 3 (2007): 283-97; Lora Wheeler Mjolsness, "Dziga Vertov's Soviet Toys: Commerce, Commercialization, and Cartoons," Studies in Russian andSoviet Cinema 2, 3 (2008): 247-67; and Jeremy Hicks, "Confronting the Holocaust: Mark Donskoi's The Unvanquished," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 3, 1 (2009): 33-51.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Reaction; Joseph Stalin|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2009|
|Previous Article:||Illusionary spoils: Soviet attitudes toward American cinema during the early Cold War.|
|Next Article:||A new Short Course? A. V. Filippov and the Russian state's search for a "usable past".|