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Министерство культуры Российской Федерации

Федеральное государственное
бюджетное образовательное учреждение высшего образования
«Санкт-Петербургский государственный институт кино и телевидения»

ИНОСТРАННЫЙ ЯЗЫК В ПРОФЕССИОНАЛЬНОЙ СФЕРЕ

История русского кинематографа


The History of Russian Сinema
1900-1945

Учебное пособие

Санкт-Петербург
СПбГИКиТ
2017
УДК 811.111
ББК 81.2 Англ
И 90
Рекомендовано к изданию Методическим советом СПбГИКиТ в качестве
основного учебного пособия по напр. подготовки 55.05.01 – Режиссура
кино и телевидения, 55.05.02 – Звукорежиссура аудиовизуальных искусств
и в качестве дополнительного учебного пособия для всех специальностей и
направлений подготовки

Рецензенты:
Д-р филол. наук, профессор С.А. Панкратова (СПбГИКиТ),
Д-р филол. наук, профессор О.И. Просянникова (ЛГУ им. А.С. Пушкина)

Циммерман Г.А., Вяльяк К.Э., Голубева С.Л., Авакян Л.А.,


Барышникова В.В., Неустроева А.П., Тенева Е.В., Иванкива М.В.,
Максимова Е.Е., Пантюхина И.Л., Панкратова С.А.
И 90 История русского кинематографа The History of Russian Cinema 1900-
1945: учеб. пособие по иностранному языку в профессиональной сфере /
Циммерман Г.А., Вяльяк К.Э., Голубева С.Л., Авакян Л.А.,
Барышникова В.В., Неустроева А.П., Тенева Е.В., Иванкива М.В.,
Максимова Е.Е., Пантюхина И.Л., Панкратова С.А. – СПб.: СПбГИКиТ,
2016. – 106 с.

Учебное пособие по иностранному языку в профессиональной сфере


является продолжением серии учебных пособий по истории американского
кино и прпредназначено в качестве основного для устной и письменной
практики обучении студентов 2-го курса по программе иностранный язык
в профессиональной сфере для специальностей 55.05.01 – Режиссура кино
и телевидения, 55.05.02 – Звукорежиссура аудиовизуальных искусств.
Данное пособие представляет собой тексты и задания по широкому кругу
тем истории русского кинематографа и может быть использовано в
качестве дополнительного для всех специальностей и направлений
подготовки. Учебное пособие содержит лексико-грамматические
упражнения, направленные на развитие коммуникативных навыков
студентов.

УДК 811.111
ББК 81.2 Англ

© СПбГИКиТ, 2017
2
CONTENTS

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………. 4

Part I
Unit 1. The beginnings of Russian cinema (1908-1919) ……….………….…. 5
Unit 2. From war to revolution. Entertainment to agitation (1914-1917) …... 11
Unit 3. Yevgeni Bauer and the melodrama (1913-1917) …………………… 15
Unit 4. The revolution and its aftermath (1917-1919) ……………………… 21
Unit 5. The ‘Americanitis’ (1921-1924) ……………………………………. 26
Unit 6. Vertov: documentaries and animation ………………………………. 31
Unit 7. Soviet montage cinema: Eisenstein and Pudovkin (1925-1928) ….… 36
Unit 8. Comedies and entertainment in the 1920s: From FEKs to KEM …… 42
Unit 9. The cultural revolution …………………………………………...…. 47

Part II
Unit 1. The purges, the Second World War (1930-1940) ………………...… 51
Unit 2. Sound film (1929-1934) …………………………………………….. 58
Unit 3. Political and historical heroes (1933-1939) …………………………. 64
Unit 4. Peasant and worker heroes (1934-1938) …………………….……… 69
Unit 5. Soviet musicals (1934-1941) ………………………….…………….. 75
Unit 6. The purges in the cinema (1937-1939) ……………………………… 81
Unit 7. Soviet war films (part 1) ……………………….……………………. 85
Unit 8. Soviet war films (part 2) …………………………….………………. 89
Conclusion ………………………………………………………………….... 93
Bibliography ……………………………………………………………..…… 94

3
INTRODUCTION

Modern life would be impossible without the art of making films for the
cinema. As a social phenomenon the cinematograph was presented in Russia at a
fairground in the Aquarium Park in St Petersburg in 1896. It was destined to
become a truly modern mass media and rose to the surface of cultural
consciousness receiving its principal support from the working class. The history
of Russian cinematography is essential for understanding the course of the
cultural and historical development of pre-revolutionary and Soviet Russia.
This book consists of two parts – Part I deals mostly with the beginnings
of the Russian cinematography. From its nine chapters prepared by G.
Zimmerman, K. Vyalyak, S. Golubeva, L. Avakyan, V. Baryshnikova and А.
Neustroyeva you will learn about pre-revolutionary Russian cinematography, its
role in political campaigning, the influence of American movie production, the
beginnings of documentaries and animation, the soviet montage cinema, the
soviet comedies and importance of cinematography for the cultural revolution.
In eight chapters of Part II, prepared by E. Teneva, M. Ivankiva, E.
Maksimova, I. Pantyukhina and S. Pankratova you will learn about the soviet
cinematography of the mid-XX century – the purges, the appearance of sound
film, its political and peasant protagonists, the soviet musicals and the Great
Patriotic war films.
Throughout the book you will encounter not only informative texts aimed
at developing your reading skills, but also lexical and grammatical exercises
aimed at enhancing your grammar and vocabulary. There are tasks which will
help you develop your knowledge and translation of professional
cinematographic terms and collocations. The skills developed will be helpful for
students learning English for special purposes as well as for the general
audience.

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PART I
UNIT 1. THE BEGINNINGS OF RUSSIAN CINEMA (1908-1919)
THE ARRIVAL OF THE KINEMO, 1895-1907

O n 4 May 1896, the cinematograph was presented at a fairground in the


Aquarium Park in St Petersburg (nowadays the territory of the city’s film
studio, Lenfilm). In Moscow it made its debut at a fair in the Hermitage Theatre
and Gardens on 26-th of May. The first Russian shows featured short films made
by the Lumieres, including their film demonstrating the arrival of a train at a
station, (Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat, 1895).
By March 1897 the cinematograph was touring Russian towns,
acquainting the people with the new attraction and providing cheap entertainment.
At the end of the nineteenth century, France had a clear monopoly on the
Russian film market. The companies Gaumont and Pathe exhibited their
films, as no rental system existed. The cinema programmes usually lasted
forty-five minutes, presenting a range of films; initially viewers could
move in and out during the programme, but as time went on they had to
wait for the beginning of the programme and the foyer became a necessary
part of the cinema, which until then could be a makeshift installation in
somebody’s apartment, as was frequently the case. The attraction of the
cinematograph grew rapidly. Cinemas increased in number and size: seats
numbered around twenty-five at the beginning and reached up to 800-1,000
by 1917. Before the war there were 1,400 cinemas in Russia, all with
seating capacities of 300-800 people.
Censorship was applied only to images of the tsar (because it was unclear
how they would be presented in the context of a programme), pornography and,
after 1905, to demonstrations and events of the French Revolution that could lead
to political agitation. The Church, opposed to the cinema in general, also
restricted the demonstration of religious themes on screen.

5
It became clear that Russia had the potential for its own domestic
production. Russia had cameras, laboratories and the facilities to make its own
films, and numerous Russians had gained experience in working for the French
companies with businesses in Russia.
Russian Film Production, 1907-1914
The breakthrough for Russian film production came in 1907, when
Alexander Drankov (1880-1949), an official Duma photographer, opened an
office in St Petersburg and announced that he would make films that would offer
authentic views of the country. Pathe and Gaumont immediately followed
suit, opening their own production studios in Russia. Russian film production
thus began on a professional level.
In 1908 Drankov produced the first Russia
feature film: Stenka Razin (Ponizovaia vol’nitsa,
dir. Vladimir Romashkov, Drankov Studio). It was
released on 15 October 1908 – the date normally
given as the birthday of Russian cinema. The film
told of the popular folk hero and rebel Stenka Razin,
but it focused on his emotional life. The film
exploits the exotic settings that were so popular in
Romantic literature, capturing from a series of angles with the statically
positioned camera how the boats float on the Volga as the crowd watches from
the shore.
The former army captain Alexander Khanzhonkov (1877-1945) competed
with Drankov. Khanzhonkov’s role for Russian film production is unique in that
he skilfully recruited young Russian talents – directors, designers, animators and
actors, and made films that aimed at an aesthetic development of cinema. His first
production, The Gypsy Camp (Drama v tabore, directed and filmed by Vladimir
Siversen, Khanzhonkov 1908), was a documentary-style film with rich exoticism
and real gypsies performing an attempted abduction from a gypsy camp.
Before the rise of the actor as star of the silver screen, however,
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Khanzhonkov ventured on the first large-scale historical epic on celluloid and
the first full-length Russian feature: The Defence of Sevastopol (Oborona
Sevastopol’ia) was premiered in 1912. Russian cinema had explored the genres of
documentary, historical accounts and epics, and literary adaptation. Before
becoming a fully-fledged artistic medium it had to assimilate two further
important genres: comedy and melodrama.
The concern with emotional dramas of young women forced to sacrifice
their love for the sake of arranged marriages became a dominant theme in early
Russian cinema, although the genre of melodrama would flourish fully in the films
of Yevgeni Bauer (1865-1917). The Peasant Lot (Krestianskaia dolia. dir.
Goncharov, Khanzlionkov 1912) explores the impossibility of love for a young
peasant woman.
As cinema was exploring the various genres possible in documentary
and artistic films, the art of animation arrived in Moscow’s Khanzhonkov
studio. In 1912 Khanzhonkov brought to Moscow Wladyslaw Starewicz (1882-
1965), who had attracted attention as designer and photographer in his native
Kovno (now the Lithuanian Kaunas, then Poland). Starewicz made a series of
feature films for Khanzhonkov, but he gained even wider acclaim as the master of
puppet animation. His animated films, such as The Cameraman’s Revenge (Mest’
kinematograficheskogo operatora, Khanzhonkov 1912), The Dragonfly and the
Ant (Strekoza i muravei, Khanzhonkov 1913), and the part-animated, part live-
action film The Lily of Belgium (Liliia Bel’gii, Skobelev Committee 1915), were
parables of modern life set in the world of insects and flowers. Moreover, they
were fine and subtle parodies and satires on the dominant cinematic genres of
the time, from melodrama to costume spectacle.

TASKS

7
I. Match the words from the text with their corresponding
definitions and translate them into Russian. Use these words in your
sentences.
1. censorship a) (n.) a particular type of art, writing, music etc, which has
certain features that all examples of this type share;
2. puppet b) (n.) the person who gives instructions to the actors and
other people working on a film or play;
3. genre c) (n.) a very impressive show or scene;
4. spectacle d) (n.) the place or time where the events in a book, film etc
happen;
5. epic e) (n.) a model of a person or animal that you move by
pulling wires or strings, or by putting your hand inside it;
6. setting f) (n.) the process of removing parts of books, films etc that are
considered unsuitable for moral, religious, or political reasons;
7. director g) (n.) film that tells a long story about brave actions and
exciting events.
II. Match the words on the left and on the right to make expressions.
Find them in the text. Translate them.
artistic adaptation
domestic film
literary medium
dominant costumes
authentic capacities
feature production
seating theme
III. Complete each sentence by choosing the best word for each gap.
1. Production companies began to deflect from the war reality by focusing on
melodramas and by [featuring / adapting] literature.
2. Russian audiences preferred seeing images [filmed / done] in foreign countries
instead of seeing their own culture.
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3. Drankov possessed enormous skills as a businessman and had a good
understanding of the [entertainment / attraction] business and marketing.
4. [A range of / An amount of] famous directors made highly successful
adaptations of the classics.
5. A [documentary / feature film] is a full-length film that has a story and is
acted by professional actors, and which is usually shown in a cinema.
6. The changing position of women in society, and society’s attitude towards
women, is perhaps one of the most significant [themes / roles] in early Russian
cinema.
7. This large-scale historical epic [shows / lasts] more than three hours.
IV. Complete each sentence by using (typing in the gap) the correct
form of the verb given in capitals.
a) By 1915 Khanzhonkov _______ DEVELOP his studio into one of the
leading ventures in pre-Revolutionary Russia.
b) The role of Hermann _______ PLAY by Mozzhukhin – by 1916 the leading
star of Russian cinema.
c) In the tradition of Russian theatre early cinema ______ BEGIN to rely
heavily on psychology and motivation for action.
d) Early films ______ SHOW in booths at fairs and exhibitions rather than in
stationary venues.
e) Generally in adapting literature, filmmakers ______ INSPIRE by poems
of themes from the classics.
f) Stationary cinemas became more widespread, thus _______ ATTRACT also
a different audience: the urban middle class and bourgeoisie.
g) Russian cinema _______ GROW both as an art and as an industry when the
First World War struck.
V. Complete the passage with the following words from the box
Translate the sentences:

9
lasted entertainment domestic attracted viewers adaptations range

The moving picture age began in Russia on May 6, 1896, at the Aquarium
amusement park in St. Petersburg. With its origins as a novelty in stalls at fairs,
cinema was seen as ________ (1) rather than an art form.
Certainly, the experience of watching cinema was different: series of short
films would run continuously and people would flit in and out as they fancied.
The audience was often raucous and, despite the fact that cinema was "silent"
(or "dumb" as Russians, perhaps more accurately, call it), a ______ (2) of the
early films were based around songs that _______ (3) could sing along with.
There were a number of historical productions and ________ (4) of well-known
works of literature as well, since cinema was seen as working better when the
audience was already familiar with the plot.
The real breakthough for Russian cinema was the start of the First World
War. Imports were hindered, and demand for ________ (5) films rocketed. The
first cinema house was open in 1906 by Alexander Khanzhonkov, the Russian
representative of a foreign firm. And by 1913 Russia had 1,412 cinema houses
where shows _______ (6) from ten minutes up to an hour.
Until 1908, however, the vast majority of movies shown in Russia were
French. That year, Alexander Drankov (1880-1945), a portrait photographer and
entrepreneur, opened the first Russian owned and operated studio, in St.
Petersburg. His inaugural picture, Stenka Razin, was a great success and inspired
other Russians to open studios. By 1916 Russia boasted more than one hundred
studios that produced five hundred pictures. The country’s four thousand movie
theaters _______ (7) an estimated 2 million spectators daily.

10
UNIT 2. FROM WAR TO REVOLUTION.
ENTERTAINMENT TO AGITATION (1914-1917)

I n July 1914, Austria-Hungary and Germany declared war on Russia.


Pathè closed its Russian office in 1915 as rising anti-German
sentiments led to houses being set on fire, and Thiemann – with a German-
sounding name – came into precarious position, while his business partner
Reinhardt left Russia for good.
The rare foreign imports (facilitated
by Ermoliev’s company, for example) were
the preferred viewing for upper classes:
almost 80 per cent of films shown prior to
1914 had been foreign. During the war,
Russian film production increased along
with the proportion of Russian films shown
in cinemas. The war situation imbued the country with a depressive atmosphere
as the Russian army suffered defeats.
Production companies began to deflect from the war reality by focusing
on melodramas centred on women and by adapting literature. The unhappy
endings, which were so typical of Russian melodramas of the period, may be
interpreted in terms of genre, but they were also an indirect reflection of a reality
where women lost their men in the war. The melodrama was an emotionalized
version of coping with the new role of women. Culturally, the decadence of the
Silver Age period contributed to the key function that the ‘new woman’ assumed
on screen.
Mirages (Mirazhi, dir. Chardynin, Khanzhonkov 1915) was one such film
of a ‘new woman’. Marianna (played by Vera Kholodnaya) is a young woman
with artistic talent who reads books to the millionaire Dymov (Bibikov).

11
When Marianna meets his handsome
son (Vitold Polonsky, 1879-1919), she is
gradually more and more drawn away from
her safe home and her fiancée Sergei
towards the ‘dark forces’ of the artistic,
Bohemian world: Marianna gives in to
Dymov Jr. and when he eventually drops her, it is too late: rejected by her
family, she kills herself.

TASKS
I. Match the words on the left and on the right to make
expressions. Find them in the text. Translate them.
business situation
upper imports
war age
foreign function
silver companies
key partner
production class
II. Complete the text with the words from the box in the right
form. Translate the sentences:

sentiment foreign import deflect from suffer reflection artistic draw away

1. The melodrama was an indirect _______ of a reality where women lost their
men in the war.
2. Russian army ________ numerous defeats.
3. Anti-German ________ led to houses being set on fire.
4. __________ were the preferred viewing for upper classes.
12
5. Mirages is a film about a young woman with ______ talent.
6. When Marianna meets his son, she is gradually more and more ______ from
her safe home.
7. Production companies began _____ the war reality.
III. Insert the correct preposition:
a) Austria-Hungary and Germany declared war ____ Russia.
b) Rising anti-German sentiments led to houses being set ____ fire.
c) Almost 80 per cent of films shown prior ____ 1914 had been foreign.
d) The war situation imbued the country ____ a depressive atmosphere.
e) Melodramas were centred _____ women.
f) The unhappy endings, which were so typical ____ Russian melodramas.
g) The decadence of the Silver Age period contributed to the key function that
the ‘new woman’ assumed ____ screen.
IV. Put the words in the right order to make questions.
1) did / the / When / with / begin / Germany / war ?
2) prefer / to / did / the / upper / watch / Which / class / films ?
3) the / was / focus / of / during / production / What / companies / main / the /
war ?
4) Russian / What / of / melodramas / typical / was ?
5) interpreted / in / can / Russian / be / terms / How / of / genre / melodramas ?
6) period / How / the / film / influence / of / the / war / the / Silver / industry /
Age / did ?
7) directed / Who / “Mirages” / the film ?
V. Choose the right answer:
1. In July 1914, Austria-Hungary and Germany declared war on Russia. Pathè
closed its Russian office in 1915 ______ rising anti-German sentiments led
to houses being set on fire.
a. however b. because c. as
2. Thiemann – with a German-sounding name – came into precarious position,
while his business partner Reinhardt ______ Russia.
13
a. was leaving b. left c. had left
3. Almost 80 per cent of films shown prior to 1914 ______ foreign.
a. were b. was c. had been
4. Russian film production _______ along with the proportion of Russian films
shown in cinemas.
a. increased b. was increasing c. had increased
5. The melodrama was an emotionalized version of ______ with the new role of
women.
a. coped b. coping c. having coped
6. Mirages (1915) was one ______ film of a ‘new woman’.
a. so b. that c. such
7. ______ by her family, she kills herself.
a. Rejecting b. Rejected c. Having been rejected
VI. Complete the word families. Make your own sentences with at
least two different words.

№ verb noun (person) noun (thing, adjective


concept)
1 --- adapting
2 --- artistic
3 contribute
4 --- decadence
5 --- depressive
6 facilitated
7 interpret interpreted
8 production
9 --- sentiments
10 suffer

UNIT 3. YEVGENI BAUER AND THE MELODRAMA (1913-1917)

14
T he uncontested master of melodrama and of films about the predicament
of women was Yevgeni Bauer, without doubt one of Europe’s best
directors of the era.
Bauer’s melodramas captured the decadent lifestyle of the time and dwelt
on psychological rather than physical action, upon which American cinema was
based. The importance of production design for Bauer (and his frequent
collaborator Sabinsky) was crucial; indeed, Bauer had trained as painter and set
designer under Shekhtel (the architect of
the Khudozhestvennyi cinema). Bauer was
obsessed with decorative columns and
curtains that created depth, and with
staircases that would create a sense of
height. Bauer’s sets were artistically
arranged, placing doors or windows at the
back of the traditional box set and breaking up the rectangular space with
statues, columns and staircases. He deployed carefully chosen accessories of
modern life, from phones, clock and lamps to cars and trains: thus, a wristwatch
sported by a woman signalled her emancipation.
Bauer’s first film The Twilight of a Woman's Soul (Sumerki zhenskoi
dushi, dir. Bauer, 1913), picks up the theme of marriage and rape, of a woman’s
status in society defined through marriage and her fall through male violence,
from the earlier film Drama on the Volga.
These Russian melodramas juxtapose the new, emancipated woman who
strives for a full and independent social life with the old-fashioned men who
view women as an object of beauty and decorum. Once women depart from the
assigned role, men are scared and appear weak when confronted with female
activity. This pattern applies to a number of films of the era, such as Bauer’s
Child of the Big City (Ditia bol’shogo goroda. dir. Bauer, 1914), which features
not an aristocratic, but a lower-class heroine, one of those women who ‘try to
use men to escape their tedious lives’.
15
In Silent Witnesses (Nemye svideteli. dir. Bauer. 1914), Bauer juxtaposed
the urban and rural way of life, and offered an insight into the cross-section of
the house, from servant quarters downstairs to private rooms upstairs, and
complete with a doorman at the public entrance.
Apart from his melodramas, Bauer made several short, comic films that
followed the pattern of comedies of the early 1910s. The 1,002nd Ruse
(Tysiacha vtoraia khitrost’. dir. Bauer. 1915) stars Bauer’s wife Lina, a great
comic actress, in the role of the clever wife whose husband tries to control her
with the help of the book 1,001 Pieces of Oriental Wisdom for Husbands – in
allusion to the Arabian fairy tales of 1,001 nights. Trick seventy-eight explains
the usefulness of observing the wife through the keyhole. Stunningly, Bauer
here uses the shape of the keyhole to reshape the cinematic frame and allow the
spectator to imitate the husband’s view. When husband and wife go for a walk, a
rare panorama shot of Moscow is faintly visible in the background.
Bauer’s best-known film is A Life
for a Life (Zhizn za zhizn’, dir. Bauer.
1916), starring Kholodnaya alongside the
Moscow Art Theatre actress Lidia
Koreneva (photo on the right).

16
Bauer’s women do not always
advance on their own initiative, but their
men are always victims. The women in
Bauer’s melodramas tended to be powerful
and decisive, taking action when their male
counterparts failed to do so. But often they
had to pay a price. Nelli Raintseva (Bauer,
1916) tells Nelli’s story as a flashback, based on her diary that her maid Tanya
finds after her death. Like Dreams, the film begins with Nelli in her coffin. Nelli
had been neglected by her parents and tried to find her calling in the arts:
playing the piano, writing, or mingling with the hussars. She accompanies Tanya
to a servants’ party, where she is inebriated and is raped by her father’s postman.
When she finds she is pregnant, she kills herself. The film makes interesting use
of the flashback, presenting the entire story as an explanation for the image of
Nelli in her coffin. Nelli (Zoya Barantsevich – photo on the left) is a woman
who is bored, and because she has no scope for activity in her provincial home,
she is asphyxiated by the world that surrounds her.
One of Bauer’s last films is For Happiness (Za schast’em. dir. Bauer.
1917), which portrayed another overpowering woman who destroys her own
happiness for the sake of her child. Bauer’s melodramas explore the sentiments
of people who inhabit an exquisite and tasteful world – a world that was slipping
away during the First World War and would disappear forever with the
Revolution.
The genre of the melodrama explored the lives of individuals within the
context of social circumstance, thus laying the blame or responsibility for
personal unhappiness (which abounded in Russian cinema) at the feet of society.
The concern with emotions made the genre of melodrama especially appealing
for women. These films offered opportunities for escapism from a reality that
was doomed with defeatism and overdue the social, political and economic
change that had been demanded in the revolutionary movement.
17
TASKS
I. Match the words from the text with their corresponding definitions
and translate them into Russian. Use these words in your sentences.
1. flashback a) (adj.) something that is extremely important, because
everything else depends on it
2. juxtapose b) (n.) a difficult or unpleasant situation in which you do not
know what to do, or in which you have to make a difficult
choice
3. crucial c) (n.) something said or written that mentions a subject,
person etc. indirectly
4. dwell on d) (n.) a scene in a film, play, book etc. that shows something
that happened before that point in the story
5. predicament e) (n.) behaviour that is intended to hurt other people
physically
6. violence f) (v.) to put things together, especially things that are not
normally together, in order to compare them or to make
something
7. allusion g) (n.) the tendency to seek distraction from unpleasant
realities in entertainment or fantasy
8. escapism h) (phr.v.) to think or talk for too long about something,
especially something unpleasant

18
II. Match one noun from each column to form a compound noun.
Find these expressions in the text. Translate them. Then use them in
sentences of your own.
NB: Two or more words can be combined to form compound nouns. It is
usually a «Noun+Noun» or «Adjective+Noun» combination. Compound nouns
can be formed in different ways: they can be written separately (stunt man),
with the hyphen (risk-taking) or in one word (crossword).
For instance, stunt man is formed by combining two nouns and refers to
a man who is employed to take the place of an actor when something dangerous
has to be done in a film.
production case
set man
stair watch
wrist design
cross hole
door section
key designer
III. Complete the following sentences using words from the box.

flashbacks predicament allusions collaborators violence juxtaposes

dwell on crucial old-fashioned lower class emancipation staircases

1. At each end of the second floor of these dwellings typically were _____, one
for men and one for women.
2. This aid money is ______ to the government's economic policies.
3. He was a nice, ______ gentleman who would hold open the door for you or
offer to carry your bags.
4. There is too much ______ on TV these days.
5. The events of the hero's childhood are shown as a series of ______.

19
6. Eliot's poetry is full of biblical ______.
7. Saladino's bedroom _______ antiques with modern furniture.
IV. Reorder the words to form questions.
1) Was / or / action / American / upon / psychological / cinema / based /
physical?
2) Bauer / did / kind / What / of / melodramas / from / his / films / make apart?
3) did / Whose / the / genre / context / of / lives / of / explore / the / social /
melodrama / within / the / circumstance?
4) opportunities / from / reality / escapism / These / for films / they / offered /
a, / didn’t?
5) women / was / the / about / uncontested / of / predicament / master / films /
melodrama / and / Who / of / the / of?
6) Bauer’s / who / film / portrayed / happiness / another / Which / woman / her /
destroys / overpowering / her / sake / of / own / for / the / child?
7) who / Do / inhabit / Bauer’s / exquisite / melodramas / the / people / world /
sentiments / of / an / and / explore / tasteful?
V. Substitute the words in italics with their antonyms from the text.
a) He deployed carefully chosen accessories of ancient life.
b) Bauer was obsessed with decorative columns and curtains that created width.
c) A wristwatch sported by a woman signalled her enslavement.
d) Once women followed the assigned role, men are scared and appear weak.
e) Woman strives for a full and independent social life with the modern men.
f) The film makes interesting use of the flashforward.
g) Bauer made several short, tragic films that followed the pattern of comedies
h) Bauer’s melodramas explore the intellect of people who inhabit an exquisite
and tasteful world.
i) The genre of the fantasy explored the lives of individuals within the context
of social circumstance.
j) These films offered opportunities for realism.

20
UNIT 4. THE REVOLUTION AND ITS AFTERMATH (1917-1919)

A fter the February Revolution of 1917 and the abdication of the tsar, many
revolutionaries returned from their exile, including Vladimir Lenin.
Newsreels and films touching on themes that had formerly been outlawed by
censorship (the tsar and the clergy, notably) were popular with the new regime.
As had most branches of the industry, film producers and distributors also
formed trade unions, which began to organize strikes, to strengthen demands for
better pay.
Cinema visits became a luxury, and many cinemas closed; film stock
became a deficit; and numerous films artists and producers moved to the studios
in the Crimea (Odessa and Yalta). But in the south, too, the political situation
changed constantly as the Reds advanced even into the last strongholds of the
White army. Khanznonkov experienced one episode of military reality
infringing of cinematic life, when during the filming of a ball scene in a
pavilion, Red officers charged on to the set, ready to arrest “bourgeois enemy”.
The atmosphere of this time is beautifully captured in Nikita Michalkov’s Slave
of Love (Raba Liubvi, 1975), which enacts a similar scene. Many artists had
remained in Moscow, declared capital in 1918, and
expressed their loyalty to the new regime. The
agitka – the political skit – became a popular form.
Despite the lack of film stock in post-
Revolutionary Russia, Lev Kuleshov (photo on the
right) began his career as a filmmaker. He had
21
worked as production designer with Bauer, and made his first film in the year of
the Revolution. Kuleshov asserted that the narrative of the film lay in the
selection of the shots. As filmmaking became a distinct art form, the skill of the
filmmaker consisted in the use (or skillful manipulation) of screen images to tell
the story.
Kuleshov’s first experiences in film are contained in The Project of
Engineer Prite (Proekt inzhinera Praita, dir. Lev Kuleshov, Khanzhonkov,
1918); it tells the story of the engineer Prite, who has invented a hydro-turbine
and is sabotaged by capitalists, who want to control the production of electricity.
The films of the period of 1917-1919 represent the end of the
melodramatic tradition that was characteristic of early Russian cinema. It brings
to the foreground themes that are of concern for the new regime, such as
scathing portrayals of the clergy sabotage of workers’ collectives, the ethos of
construction and progress. Moreover, the working class – in the form of
engineers and workers – features more prominently in positive roles in films
such as Kuleshov’s Prite, but also Bauer’s last films The Revolutionary
(Revoliutsioner,1918) and Alarm (Nabat, 1918). The first years of the Soviet era
would, however, see film production hampered and stalled due to
nationalization, reorganization and – very basically – lack of film stock.
In the films made between the two Revolutions and immediately after the
October Revolution, there is a striking concern with evil and the satanic themes
that had been banned by censorship before 1917.
Protazanov established himself as an able director who made films wanted
by the audiences whilst using interesting stylistic devices. Protazanov excelled
at portraying the evil and demonic in his characters, thus showing penchant for
German expressionism, which undoubtedly equipped him well for working
abroad, where his success continued until 1923 when he returned to Russia.
On 27 August 1919 the film industry was nationalized. Few foreign films
found their way to Moscow during the Revolution and the ensuing Civil War
(1918-1921); likewise, few new films were made.
22
TASKS
I. Match the words from the text with their corresponding
definitions and translate them into Russian. Use these words in your
sentences.
1. penchant a) (v.) deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something),
esp. for political or military advantage
2. bourgeois b) (n.) the amount by which an actual sum is lower than that
expected or required
3. skit c) (n.) photographic film that has not been exposed or
processed
4. abdicate d) (n.) the act of showing or describing sb/sth. in a film
5. film stock e) (n.) the practice of officially examining books, movies,
etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts
6. portrayal f) (v.) to renounce the throne
7. censorship g) (n.) a short comedy sketch or piece of humorous writing
that makes fun of sb/sth.
8. deficit h) (adj.) typical of conventional middle-class people
9. sabotage i) (n.) a strong inclination or liking; bent or taste
II. Complete each sentence by choosing the best word for each gap:
1. Many revolutionaries [returned / came back] from their exile after the
abdication of the tsar.
2. Numerous films artists and producers [moved / went] to the studios in the
Crimea.
3. The end of the melodramatic tradition was [characteristic / typical] of early
Russian cinema.
23
4. The director made films using interesting stylistic [devices /methods].
5. He [had worked / had been working] as production designer in the year of the
Revolution.
6. The evil and the satanic themes [had been banned / had been forbidden] by
censorship before 1917.
7. The first Soviet years [hampered / made difficult] film production.
III. Match the words to make expressions. Find these expressions in
the text. Translate them. Use them in the sentences of your own.
new class
trade tradition
cinematic regime
popular life
stylistic union
working devices
melodramatic form
IV. Correct the sentences by crossing out one unnecessary word:
a) In 1917 many revolutionaries returned back from their exile.
b) Before the revolution many themes like the tsar and the religious clergy had
been outlawed by censorship.
c) Trade unions began to organize illegal strikes with demands for better pay.
d) In the south the situation changed constantly as the Reds advanced forward.
e) Khanznonkov experienced one singular episode of military reality infringing
of cinematic life.
f) Skill of the filmmaker consisted in the use of visual images to tell the story.
g) Engineer Prite has invented a water hydro-turbine sabotaged by capitalists.
h) Films feature engineers and workers more prominently in positive roles in
films such like as Kuleshov’s Prite.
i) Kuleshov said that the narrative story of the film lay in the shots selection.
j) Protazanov excelled perfectly at portraying the evil and demonic in his
characters.
24
V. Reorder the words to form question:
1) had / after / the / artists / Revolution / Where / remained / October / many?
2) did / How / make / the director / films?
3) represent / What / of / the / of / films / do / the / 1917-1919 / period?
4) producers / form / and / film / did / What / distributors?
5) himself / he / How / establish / did?
6) Kuleshov / did / When/ first / his / film/ make?
7) cinema / was / Russian / of / kind / tradition / of / What / characteristic /
early?
VI. Choose the right preposition. Check your choice in the text.
1. After the Revolution appeared newsreels and films touching for / on / at
themes that had formerly been outlawed by censorship.
2. Themes of the tsar and the clergy were hits for / with / after the new regime.
3. Film artists and producers moved to the studios at / on / in the Crimea.
4. The Reds advanced onto / into / upon the last strongholds of the White army.
5. Many artists had remained in Moscow and expressed their loyalty for / under
/ to the new regime.
6. Lev Kuleshov had worked like / as / for production designer with Bauer.
7. 1917-1919 films represent the end of the melodramatic tradition that was
characteristic of / for / to early Russian cinema.
8. Revolution brings to the foreground themes that are about / in / of concern
for the new regime.
9. Protazanov excelled in / at / on portraying the evil in his characters.
10. Film production of the first years of the Soviet era was hampered and stalled
due for / at / to nationalization and other reasons.

25
UNIT 5. THE ‘AMERICANITIS’ (1921-1924)

T he term ‘Americanitis’ (amehkanshchinа) was employed by Lev Kuleshov


in 1922 to describe the popularity of American films in pre- and post-
Revolutionary Russia.
Table 1 Film Production by Year
Year

1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

6 57 29 12 16 28 69 80 102 118 124 92 128


Made
Films

When analysing the reasons for their popularity, Kuleshov singled out the
fast movement within the frame and the condensation of shots in the editing
process. Indeed in 1924, 95 per cent of films in distribution were foreign (German,
American, French). This is not surprising considering that from 1916 to 1922
there had been a ban on American imports, thus increasing the demand for
westerns and serials; moreover, the production low of the Soviet industry meant
that no new Soviet title had appeared since the 1918 Polikushka.
Kuleshov ascertained that American films depend on action and conclude
with a happy ending (a term alien to рге-Revolutionary cinema and translated into
Russian as kheppi end). The US industry spent more money on script and
design, whilst in Soviet Russia the bureaucracy devoured most of the budget
with a 15:1 ratio of administrative to creative staff; moreover, Soviet films
required a longer time for shooting and editing, and had a low export rate.
26
Sovkino reviewed the profitability of Russian studios and ordered
unprofitable studios to close by 1926. This left only Mezhrabpom-Rus working
alongside the Moscow and Leningrad branches of Sovkino as national studios.
Many of the avant-garde directors who had supported the Revolution
made experimental films that had little mass appeal because of their complexity;
on the whole they were not profitable. The box office relied on popular
entertainment as provided by the genres of crime, adventure and romantic
comedy. Foreign films, which filled those gaps, peaked in Soviet distribution in
the period from 1923 until 1926, when Soviet film production picked up. By
1927 the box office receipts of Soviet films were almost on a par with foreign
films.
In the first half of the 1920s, Soviet cinema slowly recovered. The
economy was gradually restored and people had money to spend on tickets. The
supervision of cinema matters came under the Commissar for Education
(Narkompros), with the playwright, literary critic and theorist Anatoli
Lunacharsky (1875-1933) at its head, an office he held from 1917 to 1929.
In fiction films, Revolutionary themes were prominent in the first years of
Soviet film production: Viacheslav Viskovsky made films such as Red
Partisans (Krasnye partizany, 1924) and The Ninth cf January (Deviatoe
ianvaria, Sevzapkino 1925). Vladimir Gardin made Four and Five (Chetyrc i
piat’, aka as Steel Wings, [Stalnye zhuravli], 1924), produced by Mezhrabpom-
Rus, using elements of the American gangster film in a plot revolving around
sabotage and combining this with the romantic tale of a Soviet hero and a simple
peasant girl.
Produced in Georgia, Ivan
Perestiani’s Red Imps (Krasnye
d’iavol’iata, 1923) was the first Soviet
film that could compete with foreign
films. It starred three circus performers,
Pavel Esikovsky. Sofia Dzhoseffi and
27
Kador Ben-Salim in the main parts. Set in Ukraine in the 1920s, it tells the story
of two siblings, Misha and Duniasha, who lead a happy and peaceful life,
spending their lime reading adventure novels by James Fenimore Cooper and
Ethel Voynich. As they read, the fictional world of the rebel-heroes is animated
in imaginary sequences that illustrate the story, thus borrowing the device of
dreams and visions deployed in pre-Revolutionary cinema. Soon the fictional
adventures of their heroes are to become reality in their own fight for the
Revolutionary cause.
Kuleshov’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr West in the Land of the
Bolsheviks (Neobychainye prikliucheniia Mistera Vesta v strane bol’shevikov,
Goskino 1924) drew on the western cowboy films for inspiration and employed
circus stunts. Thus, the role of Jeddy was played by the boxer- and later
filmmaker Boris Barnet (1907-1965). Kuleshov continued his interest in the
style of American cinema, although his undoubted success with Mr West was
hardly repeated in his later films. By the Law aka Dura Lex, (PO Zakonu,
Goskino 1926) was based on Jack London’s story ‘The unexpected’, adapted for
the screen by the literary critic and writer Viktor Shklovskv.

TASKS
I. Match the words their definitions:
1. аscertain a) (n.) a person who writes plays
2. devour b) (attr.) equal in importance or quality to
3. on a par with c) (v.) to use up or destroy as if by eating
4. playwright d) (v.) to learn or find out smth. (information or the truth)
5. plot e) (n.) something interesting that is done to get publicity
6. siblings f) (v.) to organize and send out (people) to be used for smth.
7. deploy g) (n.) two or more individuals having one common parent
8. stunts h) (n.) a series of related events that make up the film story

28
II. Choose the word or phrase from the box to complete the sentence by using its correct
form:

single out shoot profit rely on gradually restore animate hardly repeat

1) Kuleshov _________ the fast movement within the frame and the
condensation of shots in the editing process.
2) Soviet films required a longer time for _________ and editing.
3) Sovkino reviewed the __________ of Russian studios and ordered
unprofitable studios to close.
4) The box office _________ popular entertainment.
5) The economy was __________ and people had money to spend on tickets.
6) The fictional world of the rebel-heroes _________ in imaginary sequences
that illustrate the story.
7) His undoubted success with Mr West _________ in his later films.
III. Match the words to make expressions. Find them in the text. Make
your own sentences with these expressions.
experimental ending
happy staff
creative rate
mass films
the box office appeal
cinema receipts
export matters
IV. Complete each sentence by choosing the best word in each pair:
1. In the first half of the 1920s, Soviet cinema [had recovered / recovered]
slowly.
2. Many of the avant-garde directors who [had supported / supported] the
Revolution had made/ made experimental films.

29
3. They [had led / lead] a happy and peaceful life, spending their lime reading
adventure novels.
4. Soviet film production [had picked up / picked up] in the period from 1923
until 1926.
5. This is not surprising considering that from 1916 to 1922 there [had been /
was] a ban on American imports.
6. The term ‘Americanitis’ [employed / was employed] by Kuleshov in 1922.
7. The role of Jeddy [was played / played] by the boxer- and filmmaker Barnet.
V. Correct the sentence by reordering the words in capitals:
a) The US MONEY MORE ON INDUSTRY SCRIPT AND SPENT design.
b) Many THE OF DIRECTORS HAD AVANT-GARDE THE SUPPORTED
Revolution.
c) Experimental HAD BECAUSE LITTLE THEIR MASS FILMS APPEAL
OF complexity.
d) Revolutionary FIRST IN PROMINENT THE THEMES YEARS OF
SOVIET FILM WERE production.
e) Soon BECOME FICTIONAL THE HEROES ADVENTURES OF THEIR
ARE TO reality.
f) By 1927 ALMOST THE OF BOX RECEIPTS FILMS WERE OFFICE
FOREIGN ON A PAR WITH SOVIET films.
g) Kuleshov OF INTEREST IN CONTINUED STYLE THE AMERICAN HIS
cinema.
VI. These expressions are taken from the text. Find one incorrect
collocation in every set.
employ circus stunts / workers / as a weapon / personal / for a day
be based on a story / near the shop / in traditional approach / on facts
adapt for the screen / to life in Paris / for change / for the stage
compete for the prize / without foreign films / against other firms
illustrate with photographs / the story / the film / a rule / one’s point
revolve around sabotage / slow / around the Earth / about an axis
30
spend time gardening / on tickets / £10,000 in hardware / a fortune
rely entire on smb. / on popular entertainment / on one’s word
conclude which a happy ending / a ceasefire / from the debate / a deal
have a bad name / a low export rate / a bad scenes of direction

UNIT 6. VERTOV: DOCUMENTARIES AND ANIMATION

D ocumentaries were among the


films made by Lumieres, so it
the oldest genre in cinema. Many of
earliest
is arguably
the early
films documented Russian life and history. In
Soviet Russia Dziga Vertov (photo on the right)
(the real name David [Denis] Kaufman 1895-1954)
had worked in newsreel editing and
campaigned against fiction film, asserting
that documentary film could help create a
more perfect reality. Vertov’s idea of the composition of reality led to films
which lacked a linear plot.
Perhaps the most important aspect of cinema of the 1920s therefore was
the development of the documentary film. Newsreels were of crucial importance
to inform and educate the illiterate masses. Film-trains were dispatched to
document life in the country and to show newsreels to people. Vertov created
newsreels in the form of Kino-Pravda (1922-1925) and began to create a theory
on the montage of documentary footage. He declared the camera to be more
perfect than a human eye, because it lives and moves in space and time, his
group was therefore called kinoki – the “cine-eyes”.

31
The fast movement of the camera does not copy the human eye. As a
mechanical device the camera is perfect: it is agile and mobile. The cine-eye
creates a perfect reality and a perfect man subjecting the both perception and
presentation to the process of industrialization and mechanization. In this
approach Vertov was not unlike Meyerhold, who saw the actor’s body as a
mechanism for execution of movement to express emotion when defining his
“biomechanics”. Vertov attacked fiction films and claimed that documentary
was superior.
Vertov made agitki – short sketches that
would incite social improvements, agitating the
population by presenting scenes in a dynamic and
fast pace. Agitki illustrated the tasks of the
workers and warned against mistakes in a
humorous and educational manner. Vertov also
developed drawn animation for political cartoons
as early as 1924 with Soviet Toys (Sovetskie
igrushki, dir. Vertov, credited as “Denis Kaufman”), which caricatures the NEP
men, priests and high-society ladies by juxtaposing them with workers, peasants
and soldiers – the citizens of the new Russia. Subsequently, the cartoons would
be used for propaganda purposes such as China in Flames – a spoof against the
American attempts to turn China towards capitalism.
In terms of the documentary genre Vertov continued to develop his art.
His film Man with the Movie Camara is probably one of the best documentaries
of the 1920s and Vetrov’s masterpiece. The film joins the images of life in a
Soviet city in a fast-paced montage whilst also cutting to other sites that offer an
extension of time and space: for example the film cuts to miners who provide
the raw material for the electricity that is supplied to the city or to the beach and
the club that offer the relaxation after a long work day. The location moves from
Moscow, where Vertov filmed in 1924-1925, to Odessa and Kiev where the
footage for the film was short in 1929, thus undermining spatial continuity.
32
Moreover, Vertov incorporates scenes of a birth and a funeral, of a marriage and
a divorce, of an accident and leisure time activities, to cover the whole breadth
of a human life. All these activities are captured by the camera, which itself
plays an active role in the film and generates a second layer of interpretation.
The edited newsreel footage of Dziga Vertov, as well as the films of his
colleague Esfir Shub (1894-1959) brought forth the documentary style that
would characterize Soviet documentaries in the 1920s. Their use – by necessity
– of mobile and hand-held camera (when the newsreel footage had to be filmed
from moving trains and cars) was an incentive for fiction films to explore the
tracking shot. The influence was brought out most clearly in the work of the
greatest Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein.

TASKS
I. Match the words with their definitions:
1. newsreel a) (v.) to make changes to a film, or to a television or radio
programme before it is shown or broadcast
2. edit b) (n.) a news report that was shown in cinemas in the past
3. montage c) (v.) to encourage people to be violent or commit crimes by
making them angry or excited
4. footage d) (v.) to place things together or describe things together so
that people can see how they are different
5. juxtapose e) (n.) film of a particular subject or event
6. incentive f) (v.) the method of combining several different pictures,
pieces of music etc, to create a single piece
7. incite g) (n.) something that makes you want to do something or to
work harder, because you know that you will benefit by
doing this
II. Complete each sentence by choosing the best word for each gap:

33
1. In Soviet Russia Dziga Vertov had worked in newsreel [editing / montage]
and campaigned against fiction film.
2. Vertov’s idea of the composition of reality led to films which lacked a [linear
/ chronicle] plot.
3. As a mechanical device the camera is perfect: it is [dynamic / agile] and
mobile.
4. His film Man with the Movie Camara is probably one of the best
documentaries of the 1920s and Vetrov’s [setback / masterpiece].
5. Vertov attacked fiction films and [argued / claimed] that documentary was
superior.
6. The edited newsreel [footage / filming] of Dziga Vertov brought forth the
documentary style that would characterize Soviet documentaries in the
1920s.
7. All these activities are [captured / captivated] by the camera, which itself
plays an active role in the film and generates a second layer of interpretation.
III. Match the words on the left with the words on the right to make
expressions. Make your own sentences with these expressions.
tracking with
spatial to
illiterate forth
campaign shot
subject continuity
juxtapose against
bring masses
IV. Correct the sentence by reordering the words:
1) Vertov’s COMPOSITION OF THE REALITY LED TO WHICH OF FILMS
IDEA a linear plot.
2) Newsreels AND INFORM WERE TO ILLITERATE IMPORTANCE OF
EDUCATE THE CRUCIAL masses.

34
3) The influence MOST WAS OUT CLEARLY THE IN WORK GREATEST
SOVIET BROUGHT DIRECTOR SERGEI OF THE Eisenstein.
4) Subsequently, PROPAGANDA BE THE FOR CARTOONS USED WOULD
purposes.
5) As a mechanical IS THE IS DEVICE AGILE CAMERA IT PERFECT:
AND mobile.
6) Agitki illustrated TASKS OF THE WARNED THE WORKERS AND
AGAINST MISTAKES IN EDUCATIONAL A HUMOROUS AND
manner.
7) All these activities ITSELF CAPTURED ARE THE CAMERA, AN WHICH
BY PLAYS ACTIVE ROLE in the film.
V. Choose the correct word or phrase to complete the sentence:
1. Film-trains [were dispatched / dispatched / were being dispatched] to
document life in the country and to show newsreels to people.
2. The film cuts to miners [which / who / -] provide the raw material for the
electricity that is supplied to the city or to the beach and the club that offer
the relaxation after a long work day.
3. Vertov made agitki – short sketches that [would incite / incite / used to incite]
social improvements, agitating the population by presenting scenes in a
dynamic and fast pace.
4. The fast movement of the camera [does not copy / copies / does not copies]
the human eye.
5. All these activities [captured / are captured by / were capture by] the camera,
which itself plays an active role in the film and generates a second layer of
interpretation.
6. The newsreel footage [was to be / must have been / had to be] filmed from
moving trains and cars.
7. In this approach Vertov was not unlike Meyerhold, who saw the actor’s body
as a mechanism [to / for / of] execution of movement to express emotion
when defining his “biomechanics”.
35
UNIT 7. SOVIET MONTAGE CINEMA: EISENSTEIN AND PUDOVKIN
(1925-1928)

B orn in Riga, Eisenstein had


engineering in Petrograd and
Red Army after the 1917 Revolution.
studied
joined the
From 1920
he worked as set designer in
Meyehold’s theatre, where he made his first short
film (Glumov’s Diary) to illustrate the main
character’s motives in Ostrovsky’s The Wise Man
(1923). On the basis of his theatrical experience
he developed his ideas on the montage of
attractions, influenced by the way in which Meyehold devised his productions of
classical plays, fragmenting them into a series of episodes. Both the textual
fragmentation and choreographed movement were important for Eisenstein’s
work in the cinema.
Vetrov and Kuleshov had already made significant discoveries about
montage. In fiction films, montage could be used to compose the story rather
than illustrate well-known literary scenarios or narrate, as most films had done
before the Revolution. Both Kuleshov and his pupil Pudovkin used editing
essentially to create a coherent narrative, whilst Eisenstein, inspired by the
fragmentation used in Meyehold’s theatre, aimed in his use of montage at the
36
collision of images that would not only tell a story but lead to a new
understanding – emotional and intellectual.
Eisenstein’s understanding of montage was based on the collision of
images in terms of opposite or contradictory content, movement, direction, or
colour. He differentiated between several types of montage: Metric montage
determines the absolute length of a piece and refers to the rhythm or pace of a
sequence. Rhythmic montage refers to the movement within a frame
(motionless, walking, pacing, and running). Tonal montage refers to the choice
of tone (light or gloom) within a frame. Intellectual montage implies the
juxtaposition or comparison of the situation to another (non-diegetic images to
create a metaphor). Eisenstein’s so called intellectual montage relied on the
Marxist principle of thesis and antithesis to create a new concept: ‘Any two
frames juxtaposed inevitably combine into a new concept…’ (Eisenstein, 1926).
The Strike was constructed like a symphony, moving from oppression to protest
and the eventual crushing of the workers.
In 1924, Proletkult commissioned Eisenstein’s first film, The Strike
(Stachka, Goskino and Proletkult, 1925). Dwelling on the principles of ‘typage’,
where the facial expression and demeanour were more important than acting,
The Strike presented the masses as the main hero and refrained from using
trained actors, Eisenstein, working with the experienced cameraman Tisse, used
a documentary approach, showing the strike movement in such a way that it
touched the audience although they could not identify with a single hero.
After the success of The Strike,
Eisenstein was assigned to a film that would
commemorate the 1905 Revolution: The
Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potemkin,
Goskino 1925). Eisenstein embarked on the
project of ‘The year 1905’ in Leningrad – a
film covering several leading up to 1905, but
weather conditions made it impossible to continue filming. The film crew
37
moved to Odessa to shoot what was intended to be a minor episode in the film:
the mutiny on the battleship Prince Potemkin. This minor sequence turned into
an entire film, which was shot to a modified screenplay over three months in
Odessa, partly on the Potemkin’s sister ship Twelve Apostles (the Potemkin had
been dismantled).
Eisenstein relied on the masses as the hero: the crew, the battleship, the
fleet. The munity on the ship served as a microcosm of the events that would
spread across Russia, symbolically rendered through the fleet greeting and
supporting the battleship in the end. Potemkin underlines that the Revolution
was started by the unjustly exploited and oppressed people rather than by
agitation.
While The Strike was in three acts (oppression, protest and crushing), for
Potemkin Eisenstein relied on the structure of classical tragedy: the film consists
of five parts, complete with exploitation, peripetia, and denouement.
Vsevolod Pudovkin (1893-1953) had studied
chemistry before working in the cinema, but later
joined Kuleshox’s workshop to develop as a
filmmaker. Pudovkin (photo on the left) took a
different approach not only to a montage, but also
to acting: where Eisenstein rejected actors,
Pudovkin worked with the Moscow Art Theatre
actors; where Eisenstein used montage to collide
images, Pudovkin used them to build and extend the storyline. For Pudovkin,
montage facilitated the flow of the narrative and enriched it by removing
‘insignificances’ – things that were not relevant for the plot or the atmosphere.
In 1925, Pudovkin undertook a project for Mezhrabpom that was
extremely suited to a man who had trained as scientist: The Mechanins of the
Brain (Mekhanika golovnogo mozga, Mezhrabpom-Rus 1925), which was
designed to popularize Ivan Pavlov’s theory of reflexology, which represented a
development of Vladimir Bekhterev’s study of physiological stimuli and
38
behaviour. Pudovkin linked the theory of montage to Pavlov’s work on reflexes.
In the same year he made Chess Fever (Shakhmatnaya goryachka,
Mezhrabpom-Rus 1925), using documentary footage taken during the 1925
world chess tournament in Moscow and newsreel shots of the world chess
champion Jose Capablanca, and combining them with actors’ hands and other
objects and figures to tell a story of a fanatical chess player whose girlfriend is
driven to despair by his obsession with chess.
Pudovkin’s greatest and best-known film of the 1920s is without doubt
The Mother, adapted by Natan Zarkhi from Maxim Gorky’s novel: Pelageya
Nilovna joins the revolutionary movement when her son Pavel is arrested and
imprisoned, thus giving her life a meaning by continuing his cause. Nature
imagery expressed the emotional states of the characters: singing of birds, the
breaking of the ice, or the playing of children translated symbolically Pavel’s
joy and happiness. Such images of nature that continue or extend the characters’
psychology illustrate well Pudovkin’s use of montage as opposed to that of
Eisenstein. The camerawork of Pudoovkin’s permanent collaborator, Anatoli
Golovnia, a student of Kuleshov, captured effectively the downtrodden life of
the workers from high camera angles, whilst the masses are heroicized with low-
angled shots, a technique that would be used for decades to come.
In order to mark the tenth anniversary of the revolution, a number of films
were commissioned for 1927. Eisenstein made October (Sovkino 1928) for the
anniversary. It was an unwieldy film that used the principles of montage, which
Eisenstein had so successfully deployed in his earleir films. Nevertheless, with a
running time of almost three hours, October lacks the structural density and
compositional rigour of his earlier films. It covers the events from the February
to the October Revolution with meticulous authenticity, whilst neglecting the
dramatic structure. However, October contains powerful symbolic images of the
fall of the old world order, as for example the horse dangling from the raised
bridge or the dismantling of the monument to the tsar.

39
Pudovkin’s contribution to the anniversary was The End if St Petersburg
(Mezhrabpom-Rus 1927), about a man from the countryside who comes to St
Petersburg to find work in a factory. Gradually, he understands the strikers’ hate
for the old world and joins the revolutionary movement.

TASKS
I. Complete the sentences using the preposition from the box:

as across on x 2 in by with to x 3

1. Eisenstein relied ____ the masses as the hero: the crew, the battleship, the
fleet.
2. The munity on the ship served as a microcosm of the events that would
spread ____ Russia
3. Eisenstein’s montage would not only tell a story but lead ____ a new
understanding – emotional and intellectual.
4. Rhythmic montage refers ____ the movement within a frame (motionless,
walking, pacing, and running).
5. The audience could not identify _____ a single hero.
6. Pudovkin linked the theory of montage ____ Pavlov’s work on reflexes.
7. Montage enriched the narrative ____ removing ‘insignificances’.
8. Eisenstein embarked ____ the project of ‘The year 1905’ in Leningrad.
9. Images of nature illustrate well Pudovkin’s use of montage ____ opposed to
that of Eisenstein.

40
10.The film used the principles of montage, which Eisenstein had so
successfully deployed ____ his earleir films.
II. Put the verbs in brackets into the Past Simple or Past Perfect:
1) I realized I ________ (see) that film before.
2) He knew the area because he ________ (study) engineering at the university.
3) First, I read about Eisenstein. Then, I _________ (read) about Pudovkin.
4) I was surprised when I read that my friend ________ (hear) of Eisenstein
before.
5) What ________ (you do) after he had gone to Hollywood?
6) Before the film crew moved to Odessa they _________ (work) in Leningrad.
7) Eisenstein _________ (make) his first short film in 1923.
III. Match the adjectives with their definitions. Give the examples.
1. significant a) certain to happen
2. essential b) serving as a symbol
3. inevitable c) important enough to get attention
4. symbolical d) very great
5. unjust e) taking place in stages
6. extreme f) absolutely necessary
7. gradual g) not fair
IV. Put the words from the box into the correct column in the table
and underline the stressed syllable. Use the dictionary if necessary. Then
make your own sentences with these expressions.

set designer scenario character montage cameraman denouement


actor film screenplay crew collision peripetia juxtaposition demeanour

People Parts of a film or a play Other


…. …. ….

41
V. Explain the difference and fill the gaps: a) character/hero, b)
crew/audience, c) episode/scene, d) screenplay/scenario, e)
collision/denouement, f) to adapt/to film, g) documentary/feature.
a) In the course of the movie the _______ cheats death many times.
b) The US cinema ________ is a very different beast.
c) The plot develops further in the second ________ .
d) The ________ of a film included acting instructions and scene directions.
e) The book’s sentimental ________ is pure Hollywood.
f) Many of Dickens’ books have been ________ as films.
g) Paul Greengrass he has directed famous ________ films.

UNIT 8. COMEDIES AND ENTERTAINMENT IN THE 1920s:


FROM FEKS TO KEM

T he Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS) was formed in 1921 as a theatre


company staging comedies and in 1924 it became a film section of
Sevzapkino, the film studio in Leningrad. FEKS was headed by Grigori
Kozintsev (1905-1973) and Leonid Trauberg (1902-1990), and was made up of
the actors Y.Kuzmina (1909-1979), S.Gerasimov (1906-1985), A.Kostrichkin
(1901-1973), Y.Zheimo (1909-1987), L.Semenova (1899-1990), and
P.Sobolevsky (1904-1977), as well as the set designer Y.Yenci (1890-1971),
who had been influenced by expressionist art during his studies in Budapest and
Vienna, and the photographer A.Moskvin (1901-1961).
Their first film The Adventures of Oktiabrina (Pokhozhdeniia Oktiabriny,
Sevzapkino 1924), was political buffoonery:
Oktiabrina is a young komsomolka working for the
tax office and fighting a NEP entrepreneur and his
business partner Coolidge Curzonovich Poincaré
(the name allowing a satirical swipe at the US,
Britain and France all in one), who try to recover
42
the tsarist regime’s debts from the Bolsheviks, although the new government
had annulled all debts. The film uses inter-titles to parody the action of the
capitalists shown on screen.
The Devil’s Wheel (Chertovo koleso, Leningradkino 1926) was about
gangsters in Petrograd during the Civil War, mixing historical facts with
eccentric events revolving around a romantic encounter. The theme of the
subversion of the good sailor and his girl through thieves and ruffians, of the
sabotage both of the new regime’s pride (the navy) and personal happiness, is
turned here into an entertaining and amusing comedy with public appeal.
One of the most promising directors of pre-Revolutionary cinema, Yakov
Protazanov (photo above) had returned to Soviet Russia in 1923 to work at
Mezhrabpom-Rus (later Mezhrabpomfilm). He not only understood audiences
and their tastes, but also worked competently with actors and was incredibly
prolific. His first Soviet film was Aelita (1924) based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel
tells about a Soviet engineer, who dreams of building a spaceship to escape from
the world trough his flight to Mars. Protazanov’s His Call (Ego prizyv,
Mezhrabpom-Rus 1925) reached the top ten films in popularity with an
adventure plot in which an industrialist and his son Vladimir leave for Paris
during the Revolution and return when their money is up. Protazanov made
further successful comedies for Mezhrabpom-Rus, exposing the flaws of the
Soviet bureaucracy, such as The Tailor of Torzhok (Zakroishchik iz Torzhka,
1925) which offers a critique of the housing system, or Don Diego and
Pelageya (Mezhrabpomlilm 1928), which attacked the narrow-mindedness of
Soviet bureaucrats.
The Forty-First (Sorok pervyi, Mezhrabpom-Rus 1927; remake by
Grigori Chukhrai, 1956) was based on Boris Lavrenev’s play and set during the
Civil War in Turkestan, thus using an exotic setting. The romantic story, with
the unhappy ending that places political over personal, manifested the value of
the collective (army) as worth more than bourgeois values represented by
protagonist’s love.
43
Protazanov also used foreign settings for his anti-bourgeois comedies,
such as The Three Millions Case (Protsess o trekh millionakh, 1926). The film
contains a romantic melodrama and passes a judgement on the banker who
speculates with other people’s poverty; and there is adventure and slapstick.
Protazanov’s films combine popular elements (adventures and espionage) with
plots that are ideologically sound and which occasionally satirize the ridiculous
bureaucracy of the system.
A conventional, but highly successful film of the 1920s was The Bear’s
Wedding (Medvezh’ia svad’ba, dir. Konstantin Eggert (1883-1955),
Mezhrabpom-Rus 1925), based on Prosper Merimée’s 1869 horror story Lokis,
adapted for the screen by Lunacharsky, the Commissar for Enlightenment.
The film’s success can largely be explained by its genre: a vampire story.
With all the ingredients of romance and passion, the goriness of ghosts and
vampires, and with a rigid black-and-white division between good and evil, the
film attracted record figures. Following the model of FEKS, Friedrich Ermler
set up KEM (Kino-Experimental’naia Masterskaia) in 1924 with his secret
service comrade Eduard Ioganson (1894-1942) and the theatre actor Fedor
Nikitin (1900-1988), who was nicknamed the ’Russian Prince Myshkin’ for his
interpretation of intellectual characters.
Katka’s Reinette Apples (Kat’ka
bumazhnyi ranet, Len-Sovkino 1926) tells
of a girl, Katka (Veronika Buzhinskaya –
photo on the right), who comes to
Leningrad and sells apples. In Katka (photo
on the left), Ermler rewarded the heroine
who had chosen the right path, and
condemned the criminals. The film also contains a romantic story. In The
Parisian Cobbler (Parizhskii sapozhnik, Len-Sovkino 1927), Ermler uses a
similar constellation for the forces of good and evil. Ermler stresses the presence
of humanism as a separate issue from Party membership, making not all Party
44
members good people by definition. Ermler mixes the genres of melodrama,
adventure and slapstick. In Fragment of the Empire (Oblomok imperii, Len-
Sovkino 1929), Ermler portrays the watchman of a small railway station, who
has lost his memory due to injuries sustained in the First World War. Ten years
later, seeing his wife through the window of a passing train, his memory returns.
He travels to Leningrad to find his wife, who is now married to a bourgeois NEP
man and is unwilling to abandon her present lifestyle.
Ermler’s films contain linear narratives and combine conventional
photography with fine acting, telling stories with a sound moral message: that
Party membership is no synonym for goodness, that bourgeois values have not
yet been eradicated, but that poor workers can be trusted most.
TASKS
I. Match the words with their definitions. Give your own
sentences with these words:
1. comedy a) (n.) a style or category of art, music, or literature
2. satire b) (n.) a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated
characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the
emotions
3. parody c) (n.) the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to
expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices
4. slapstick d) (n.) an unusual and exciting or daring experience
5. melodrama e) (n.) an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or
genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect
6. adventure f) (n.) a film, play, or broadcast programme intended to make
an audience laugh
7. genre g) (n.) comedy based on deliberately clumsy actions and
humorously embarrassing events
II. Match the two halves of each sentence:
1) Gogol’s The Overcoat, an absurd and grotesque story about a tragicomic
character …
45
2) The FEKS actors relied on …
3) The film had fine performances …
4) The film also combined a story about science and conquest …
5) Protazanov’s films combine popular elements (adventures and espionage) …
6) The film contained fine acting and …
7) Barnet’s “The House on Trubnaya Square” (Dom na Trubnoi, Mezhrabpom-
Ru- 1928) …
a) … expressive movement and circus tricks for their acting.
b) … with plots that are ideologically sound and which occasionally
satirize the ridiculous bureaucracy of the system.
c) … was one of the last satirical comedies about the NEP.
d) … stylized, expressive performances by the actors.
e) … provided ideal material for FEKS.
f) … with a romantic adventure story.
g) … by changing from a realistic and comic to a declamatory style.
III. Complete each sentence by using (typing in the gap) the correct
form of the verb (escape, loose, show, contain, make, explain, return):
1. Yakov Protazanov had __________ to Soviet Russia in 1923.
2. The film also _________ a romantic story.
3. The film’s success can largely __________ by its genre.
4. In Fragment of the Empire Ermler portrays the watchman, who ______ his
memory.
5. The film uses inter-titles to parody the action of the capitalists ______ on
screen.
6. Aelita tells about a Soviet engineer, who dreams of building a spaceship
_______ from the world.
7. Ermler stresses the presence of humanism as a separate issue from Party
membership, ________ not all Party members good.
IV. Choose the correct word to complete the sentence:

46
script scene costumes acting performance set actors

a) The ____ and _________ were designed by the constructivist artist.


b) They stood in the centre of the _______ .
c) Actors bring the text to life through _________ and through the personal
qualities they may contribute to the narrative of ________ .
d) One of the first ______ is believed to be an ancient Greek called Thespis of
Icaria.
e) Aristotle defined _______ as the right management of the voice to express
emotions and declared it a natural gift that he doubted could be taught.

UNIT 9. THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION

B y 1928 the box office receipts for Soviet films had overtaken those of
foreign films in distribution, eradicating the dependence on imported
films. In March 1928 the All-Union party Conference on Cinema Affairs took
place, where officials and critics of the proletarian organizations Party
demanded that films should be intelligible to the millions. In 1928 the country
had 9,000 cinemas, a figure would double by 1930 and climbed to almost 30,000
by 1933. However, party officials ignored the fact hat cinema tickets were
expensive, and workers could see films cheaply only in factory clubs, which
were equipped with old and often defunct projectors. The Party officials ignored
the lack of equipment and film stock (still not produced in Soviet Russia in
desirable quality – fiction films continued to be made on imported film stock).
In June 1929 the purges of form
administration and of ARRK (the Association of
Revolutionary Workers of Cinematography) began:
the affected those who did not make ‘films for the
millions’ and who were ‘bourgeois reactionaries’.
47
Formalism was targeted as it sought to narrate through structure and ‘typage’
rather than psychology and acting, and because its rejection of plot meant that
films were complex in style and form.
In 1929 arrests of the association’s members were made, from stokers and
firemen to administrators and consultants, directors and artists. In 1927,
filmmakers and industry staff were accused of economic crimes, i.e.
squandering money, and put on trial. From 1928 to 1032, the film industry was
almost entirely destroyed – after it had just been rebuilt through the circulation
of popular foreign films and Soviet films relying on bourgeois values and tastes,
made by the old guard of the pre-revolutionary generation of filmmakers,
including Protazanov, Sabinsky, Chardynin, Gardin and Perestiani, who had
been so much more productive and successful with audiences than Kuleshov,
Vertov, Eisenstein and Pudovkin. At the end of the decade, high and low culture
were far apart and, although cinema could technically reach the masses, it did
not cater for the peasants or workers, who may, indeed, not have constituted the
majority of cinema-goers at the time.
Following the so-called Cultural Revolution, which placed the workers’
concerns high on the thematic agenda and applied a ‘value and ideology for
money’ policy to cultural production, filmmaking continued along the lines of
narrative films with simple plots and realistic characters. However, many films
were banned between 1929 and 1933 (some at the pre-production stage), others
were cut (such as Earth) or had restricted release (The Old and the New); others
ran into censorship problems not because they were anti-Revolutionary, but
because the contained comic and satirical elements. The films of the Cultural
Revolution thus mark a stylistic turning point for their directors.
Pudovkin was assigned to film Storm over Asia in Mongolia. The film
told a Civil War story set in 1918 during the British occupation in Mongolia.
The story is captured through the exotic imagery of the Mongolia steppe, while
the events fulfill the requirements of an adventure film, but there is also blunt
propaganda supporting the cause of the Red Army.
48
Eisenstein’s The Old and the New tried to conform to the political agenda
by addressing the theme of farming, supporting the drive for collectivization.
The film praises the introduction of mechanical devices into the countryside and
agricultural modernization, but it contained no conflict that characters had to
overcome, nothing that justified the triumph of the tractors, thus depriving it of a
dramatic structure. At the end of the 1920s, Eisenstein left for Hollywood and
Mexico, where he spent the height of the Cultural Revolution, from 1929 until
1932.
A few documentary films educational films
were made in the late 1920a, such as Victor Turin’s
Turksib (1929) about the Siberian railway line that
had just opened, and Mikhail Kalatozov’s (photo on
the right) Salt of Svanetia (1930) about life in the
mountain region and its ethnic population in the
Caucasus, and their isolated life until the
Bolsheviks build a road that connects them to the
world.
In 1930, Soyuzkino took over film production under the control of Boris
Shumiatsky, who – until his arrest in 1938 – would coin the ‘cinema for the
millions’ in Stalin’s Russia, epitomized in the cult film Chapaev (1934) and the
musical Circus (1934).

TASKS
I. Match the adjectives from the text with the opposites:
1. unintelligible a) unacceptable
2. defunct b) unprofitable
3. desirable c) incomprehensible
4. successful d) open
5. isolated e) working
49
II. Explain the meaning of these words to your partner in English and
then choose the best word to complete the sentences:

box office plot distribution film stock censorship


post-production pre-production narrative film

1) Some films ran into [montage / censorship] problems not because they were
anti-Revolutionary, but because the contained comic and satirical elements.
2) By 1928 [the box office / cinema] receipts for Soviet films had overtaken
those of foreign films.
3) [Scenarios / Film stock] still was not produced in Soviet Russia in desirable
quality.
4) Filmmaking continued along the lines of [narrative films / documentaries]
with simple plots and realistic characters.
5) Many films were banned at [the pre-production stage / equipment stage].
III. Use the text to help you match the verbs with their definitions.
Then make your own sentences with these expressions:
1. deprive of a) behave according to social conventions
2. assign to b) supply things needed for a particular purpose
3. conform to c) meet by chance
4. run into d) appoint to a particular task
5. accuse of e) cause the carry or be subject to something
6. equip with f) deny smb. the possession or use of something
7. put on g) claim that somebody has done something wrong
IV. Complete the text using the correct form (Past Simple Active or
Passive) of the verbs from exercise II:
A very famous film director (1) __________ to make a film. Although he
had his own ideas on the subject, he still wanted his film to (2) _________ the
political agenda. While he was making his film, he (3) _________ a lot of
problems and difficulties. One on the main problems was the studio that (4)
50
____________ badly. When the film was finished and the officials watched it
the director (5) __________ being ‘bourgeois reactionaries’. He (6)
__________ trial. He (7) __________ all his rights and sent to Siberia.

PART II
UNIT 1. THE PURGES, THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND THE
COLD WAR, OR HOW STALIN ENTERTAINED THE PEOPLE
(1930-1953)
“We were born to make fairy tales come true.”
‘Aviators’ March’

T his chapter embraces almost the entire Stalin era. The 1930s were marked
by terror and fear, arrests and executions. By 1932, the Cultural
Revolution that had begun in 1929 had led to all artistic movements being
streamlined into monolithic artistic unions (writers, filmmakers, artists,
composers, etc.) that would ultimately implement the Party’s ideology rather
than defend their members from political interference in art, as stipulated in a
Party Decree of 1932. The repercussions of the Purges could be felt also in the
arts: in 1938 the Meyerhold Theatre was closed, Meyerhold arrested and then
murdered in 1940.
Many foreigners visited the Soviet
Union, partly to see communism in action and
to support the new regime. The Soviet Union
encouraged such visits, seeking
international approval in such visitors as Andre
Malraux, who spoke at the Writers’ Congress
in 1934: Romain Rolland, an ardent Stalin
supporter and personal friend of Gorky: or Leon
Feuchtwanger, who approved of the show trials when he visited in 1937; H.G.
51
Wells and G.B. Shaw also visited in the period, and Erwin Piscator (photo on
the right) was one of many German artists to seek refuge in the Soviet Union
when Hitler came to power in 1933, making the film The Revolt of the
Fishermen (Vosstanie rybakov, Mezhrabpom 1932-34).
In that year the United States recognized the Soviet Union, and both in
1939 and 1942 Stalin was named ‘Man of the Year’ by Time magazine.
Moreover, some foreigners were attracted to Moscow to assist with the
ambitious industrialization projects in the country, and subsequently stayed.
Despite its apparent internationalism, the Soviet Union became increasingly
xenophobic: foreigners were asked to leave the country or assume Soviet
citizenship in 1936, and the rise of fascism in Germany scared both the
government and the people. During the 1930s foreign film imports fell to almost
zero and only private screenings in the Kremlin showed foreign films for Stalin
and his close friends. Another effect of the xenophobia was the liquidation in
1936 of Mezhrabpom - funded by the German International Workers’ Relief.
The children’s film studio Soyuzdetfilm (renamed Gorky Film Studio in 1948)
set up base on the premises of Mezhrabpom; headed by Sergei Yutkevich,
Soyuzdetfilm began making films for children: Mark Donskoy turned Maxim
Gorky’s autobiographical trilogy into film (1938-1939) just after the writer’s
death in 1936.
The shift towards realism that followed the Writers’ Union Congress in
1934 accounted also for the development of live-action children’s and fairy-tale
films - rather than cartoons, which were largely demoted to a political function
in the 1930s whilst Walt Disney, with much more efficient production methods,
took the lead in this art form internationally.
Alexander Ptushko (1900-1973) (photo on
the left) and Alexander Rou (1906-1973) made
numerous films for children, based on adventure
stories and fairy tales. Ptushko’s New Gulliver
(Novyi Gulliver. Mosfilm 1935), based on Jonathan
52
Swift’s adventure tale, is one such film that enjoyed great popularity among
children thanks to the original use of puppet animation to render the discrepancy
in size between the giant and the tiny Lilliputians.
Other popular children’s films include
Captain Grant’s Children (Deti kapitana Granta,
dir. Vainshtok and Ptushko, Mosfilm 1936)
adapted from Jules Verne with the part of
adventurer Jacques Paganel played by the versatile
actor Nikolai Cherkasov (1903-1966), who later
played Ivan the Terrible. The film was the first
adaptation of Verne’s novel, and Isaak
Dunaevsky’s score with Vasili Lebedev-Kumach’s lyrics made it tremendously
successful. The production of children’s films was seen as a priority, leading to
the creation of a children’s film studio. A pioneer, often forgotten in the history
of Soviet cinema, was Margarita Barskaya-Chardynina (photo on the right), an
actress and the wife of the director Petr Chardynin. Her film Torn Shoes (Rvanie
bashmachki, Mezhrabpomfilm 1933) was one of the first children’s films, about
children and for children. Her second feature, Father and Son (Otets i syn,
Soyuzdetfilm 1936) was banned because she was a friend of Karl Radek
(committed in one of the show trials), and she committed suicide in 1937.
In cinema organization, the 1930s saw further streamlining of the
administration. The cartoon industry was reorganized with the formation of
Soyuzmultfilm in 1936. In order to cope with growing demand from Sovkino,
Soyuzmultfilm had to recruit new staff, and train designers in-house by giving
trainees figures to animate. Demands to adopt the methods of Disney for
efficiency hampered the development of animation in the 1930s. In 1930
Soyuzkino (Union Cinema) was established as the sole body to produce and
control films. In 1931 the Moscow film studio, Mosfilm, took over the premises
of the Ermoliev and Khanzhonkov studios. In September 1932 the Film Institute
established directors’ courses, which were run by Sergei Eisenstein, who had
53
returned from Hollywood; in 1934 the State Film Technikum (GTK) became the
Film Institute (VG1K, Vsesoiuznyi gosudarstvennyi institut kinematografii). In
February 1933 the Main Directorate of Cinema (GUK) was placed in charge of
cinema matters instead of the Committee of Enlightenment (Narkompros). In
1934 the USSR participated in the Venice Film Festival and Moscow hosted its
first international film festival in spring 1935: Soviet films were validated on
the national and international stage. In August 1934 the first Congress of the
Writers’ Union, founded in 1932, resolved that Socialist Realism was the only
acceptable method for artistic work: works should display the socialist idea
(ideinost’), national character (narodnost’) and Party loyalty (partiinost’). Art
should aim to show ‘reality in its revolutionary development’ (Zhdanov), thus
presenting history ideologically, leading towards the communist future. The All-
Union Creative Conference on Cinema Affairs in 1935 basically adopted the
principles of Socialist Realism as set out for literature. In order to show the
development of history, art would thus present the (bright) future as present,
creating essentially utopian narratives (‘fairy tales’). The line from a popular
song (‘Aviators’ March’), ‘We are born to make the fairy tale come true’, fitted
the artistic aesthetics of the 1930s.
In December 1931 the film-train (kino-poezd) – under Alexander
Medvedkin – was launched. Short, agitational sketches as produced on the film-
train and in the newsreels of Vertov’s Kino-Pravda did not, however, endanger
the significance of the documentary form itself in
the 1930s. The Arctic expedition of the icebreaker
Cheliuskin was filmed in the polar region by the
director Vladimir Shneiderov (1900-1973), who had
been part of the air expedition to Mongolia and
China in the late 1920s, and made numerous
adventure-expedition films, drawing attention to and
exploring the expanses of the Soviet Union. The
exploration of the Arctic also stood at the centre of feature films, such the Sergei
54
Gerasimov’s (photo on the right) Brave Seven (Semero smelykh, Lenfilm 1936).
A curious experiment was the film A Day of the New World (Den’ novogo mira,
Tsentral’naia studio kinokhroniki 1941) editing footage that was shot on 24
August 1940 at a range of different locations in the Soviet Union and collated by
cinematographer Boris Tseitlin, who had previously worked with Vertov.

TASKS
I. Match the words from the text with their corresponding definitions
and translate them into Russian. Make sentences with them.
1. conspiracy a) (n.) an action to remove your opponents from an
organization or place
2. ardent b) (n.) a difference between two amounts, details, reports etc.
that should be the same
3. purge c) (n.) strong dislike or hatred
4. repercussions d) (n.) being one of the parts of something
5. discrepancy e) (adj.) showing strong positive feelings about an activity
and determination to succeed at it
6. constituent f) (n.) a secret plan made by two or more people to do
something that is harmful or illegal
7. animosity g) (n.) the effects of an action or event, especially bad effects
that continue for some time
II. Complete the following sentences using the words from the box in
the right form. Translate the sentences.

undermine conspiracy stipulate vilification constituent demote ardent

collate discrepancy purge hamper versatile xenophobia aesthetics

1) The treaty will give even greater powers to the country’s 15 ____ republics.
2) The Stalinist ______of the military commanders took place in the 1930s.

55
3) He was charged with _______ to commit criminal damage.
4) Newman had realised that, because of cultural inequalities, many people
were not _______ followers of drama as presented in the Theatre.
5) Meryl Streep is a wonderfully ________ actress.
6) In an atmosphere of growing _______ many foreigners were deported or
even imprisoned.
7) She always refused to discuss the _______ in her biography.
III. Insert the correct preposition from the box.

of into with over on up to

1) The Cultural Revolution consolidated State and Party control ______ culture.
2) By 1932, the Cultural Revolution that had begun in 1929 had led ____ all
artistic movements being streamlined into monolithic artistic unions.
3) Some foreigners were attracted to Moscow to assist _____ the ambitious
industrialization projects in the country.
4) Mark Donskoy turned Maxim Gorky’s autobiographical trilogy ____ film
just after the writer’s death in 1936.
5) Alexander Ptushko and Alexander Rou made numerous films for children,
based _____ adventure stories and fairy tales.
6) In February 1933 the Main Directorate of Cinema (GUK) was placed in
charge _____ cinema matters.
7) The Tajik and Turkmen studios were set ______ in the late 1920s and early
1930s.
IV. Match the words on the left with words on the right to make
expressions. Find them in the text. Translate and make your own sentences
with them.
soviet realism
cold animation
cosmopolitan war
56
cultural affairs
puppet revolution
socialist campaign
cinema citizenship
V. Put the words in the right order to make questions. Find the
answers in the text.
1. USSR / When / in / Film / did / participate / Festival / the / the / Venice?
2. first / spring / festival / hosted / What / city / international / its / film / in /
1935?
3. were / Where / validated / Soviet / films?
4. did / the / Conference / adopt / on / Creative / All-Union / Cinema / Affairs /
What / in / 1935?
5. did / the / foreigners / visit / Soviet / Union / many / Why?
6. When / the / industry / was / reorganized / cartoon?
7. the / expedition / of / the / Arctic / Who / filmed / Cheliuskin / icebreaker?
VI. Complete the word families. Make your own sentences with at least two different words.

№ verb noun (person) noun (thing, adjective


concept)
1 launched ---
2 endanger ---
3 exploring
4 editing
5 narrative
6 aesthetics
7 recruit
8 character
9 --- popularity
10 liquidation

57
UNIT 2. SOUND FILM (1929-1934)

W ith the establishment of


the all-union organization in
production and distribution, the film
Soyuzkino,
charge
industry
of

entered a new era; but it also did so because of


the arrival of sound, which meant that new
equipment had to be installed, forcing an overhaul
of the industry. Warner Brothers had introduced
sound in 1926 (Vitaphone, recording sound
separately), and Fox launched the Movietone
sound system in 1927. In Moscow, Pavel Tager (1903-1971) was working on
sound systems at Mezhrabpom when Alexander Shorin (1890-1941) equipped
Leningrad’s Sovkino with sound. However, sound was slow to be adopted both
by filmmakers and the industry, where additional problems were encountered at
the level of distribution.
The different aesthetic principles for silent and sound film had worried
filmmakers since the late 1920s. In 1928 Pudovkin, Eisenstein and his assistant
Grigori Alexandrov had issued a manifesto on sound, advocating sound not to
provide a realistic acoustic narrative, but to use music, words and sounds to
counterpoint the images, thus complementing the visual montage with a sound
montage. They contended that the montage of sound should run parallel to a
montage of images, making sound essentially a-synchronous in a work of
vertical montage (sound on top of image or vice versa).
Sound was used in documentaries, such as Abram Room’s The Plan for
Great Works (Plan velikikh rabot [Piatiletka], Soyuzkino1929/30), a film about
the Five Year Plan, which also contained animated sequences. Documentary
film adopted to sound easily and successfully. Vertov’s Enthusiasm – The
58
Donbass Symphony (Simfoniia Donbassa – Entuziazm, VUFKU 1930)
combined sound montage with edited documentary footage in an experimental
and original manner.
The earliest fiction films with sound were
Yuli Raizman’s (photo on the left) (1903-1994) The
Earth Thirsts (Zemlia zhazhdet, Vostokkino 1931)
about a multi-ethnic group of engineers who build
an irrigation system in a Turkmen village. The film
relies on the plot to show the linear development of
the local people from an unenlightened mass to a
conscious collective, as well as the rapid
industrialization of the countryside and the integration of the socialist republics
of Central Asia.
Kozintsev’s and Trauberg’s Alone (Odna, Soyuzkino Leningrad 1931)
contained fragments of dialogue, but the most prominent sound effects were
those of new machines. With the skilful use of alarm clocks and telephones – as
signs of new technology – permeating the narrative, as well as the radio
providing a guiding commentary on the action, Kozintsev and Trauberg
accompanied the reluctant move of the novice teacher Yelena Kuzmina from
Leningrad to a remote area in Altai where she has been assigned her first job.
The cultural contrast between the technologically developed city and the Altai
region still under the spell of shamanism, could hardly be greater. Kuzmina
struggles against the village elders in their reluctance to accept progress, until
she is seriously injured and airlifted – leaving behind a village that begins to
accept the values she has tried to instil in them and echoing the ideological
message of Raizman’s films.
By 1934 films provided a realistic narrative through dialogue, such as
Nikolai Ekk’s (1902-1976) The Path to Life (Putevka v zhizn’, Mezhrabpom
1931), which also uses folk music. It tells the story of the commissar Nikolai
Sergeev (Nikolai Batalov), who reforms a gang of orphans living in an open
59
camp. The appearance on screen of besprizorniki (homeless orphans) reminded
the viewer of the great number of children left without parents after the turmoil
of a world war and a civil war. The orphans were portrayed through their use of
language, each speaking in a different manner: Kolka with his communist ideals,
or Dandy Mustafa Fert (played by the poet and actor Iyvan Kyrla [Kirill Ivanov]
born in Mari El 1909, and purged in 1937; died 1943), with his eccentric ways.
Sergeev engages them through common work on a railway line leading to the
camp, highlighting the construction theme typical of Soviet culture of the time,
but also the railway that will connect the camp with
the outside world. The gang of Zhigan (Mikhail
Zharov, 1900-81, the notorious ‘baddie’)
undermines Sergeev’s efforts, and kills Mustafa
during a sabotage attempt.
Direcred by Nikolai Ekk (photo on the right)
Grunia Kornakova (also The Little Nightingale,
Mezhrabpomfilm 1936) was the first Soviet colour
film and is set in pre-Revolutionary Russia, where Grunia’s father works as
caretaker at a porcelain factory. The film follows Grunia from her duties at
home to her role as a Revolutionary leader in the uprising of the exploited
workforce at the factory. The film is set on Christmas Eve, but there is no
carnival spirit and no relaxation of class divisions commonly associated with the
holiday: the happy seclusion of the Kornakov family is a mere illusion of peace
that crumbles away when a fire destroys the factory, thus enabling the
proprietor, drawing on insurance funds, to replace the wooden building with a
new brick wing – at the cost of thirty-nine lives, among them Grunia’s father.
The film points up the backwardness of folk beliefs and their danger to
Revolutionary energy: if Grunia had not been torn away from her Christmas tree
by the events, she would never have become a Revolutionary and fought for the
workers’ social cause. The blame for the lack of social progress is laid at the feet
of bourgeois traditions that have no room in Stalin’s Russia: Christmas. As such,
60
Grunia Kornakova is very much a film of the 1930s, made at the beginning of
the Purges.
As Socialist Realism gripped literature, Boris Shumiatsky (in charge of
Soyuzkino) hoped to create a cinema for the millions and entertain the masses.
He wanted filmmakers to appeal to the consciousness of people with an
engaging plot and do what the Aviators' March had articulated: ‘to turn a fairy
tale into reality’. They should create films that were fairy tales rooted in Soviet
reality – of workers achieving their dreams, since the main principle of
happiness according to Soviet ideology lay in hard physical labour (which is
therefore choreographed and executed in light, ballet-like movements).
Cinderella stories of weavers coming to Moscow to ‘play’ on the machines in
the textile industry, of peasants rejoicing in the working of the fields and happily
riding on tractors, all beautifully and neatly dressed, with smiles that reveal their
immaculate white teeth and red cheeks as a sign of health, were the staple diet of
the 1930s. The culmination of personal happiness often lay in meeting a nice
man (or woman) and infallibly, an encounter with Stalin, direct or indirect, that
allowed them to understand the meaning of communism. Such were the dream
plots of Socialist Realist musicals. Since films were supposed to show reality
developing towards a bright future, the present – if it features at all – is a mere
transition phase, an accident or a bump on the road that leads to higher realms.
One may infer here a parallel between Orthodoxy, where believers expect a
reward for earthly sufferings in the other world, and communism, adopting
religious concepts to exploit folk rituals and faith for its own ends, as it also
evident in the replacement of religious icons through portraits of the leaders.

TASKS
I. Match the words from the text with their corresponding definitions
and translate them into Russian.
1. to install a) (n.) necessary changes made to a system
61
2. overhaul b) (v.) to officially make a statement
3. to encounter c) (n.) cinema film showing a particular event
4. footage d) (n.) someone who has no experience; beginner
5. reluctant e) to teach someone a way of thinking or behaving over a
long period of time
6. novice f) (n.) the state of being privately away from other people
7. to purge g) (v.) to force people who disagree with you to leave an
organization, often by using violence
8. seclusion h) (adj.) slow and unwilling
9. to issue i) (v.) to experience problems or difficulties when you are
trying to do something
10. to instill j) (v.) to put a piece of equipment somewhere and connect it
so that it is ready to be used
II. Match the words on the left with words on the right. You’re your
own sentences with these expressions.
exploited sequences
unenlightened contrast
cultural system
animated mass
sound message
visual workforce
ideological montage
III. Complete the text with the words from the box in the right form.
Translate the sentences:

undermine sound staple prominent purge all-union counterpoint

1) The _______ Film Festival was one of the most important film festivals of
the Soviet Union.

62
2) Joining Eisenstein, Pudovkin came to understand sound not a complemenary,
but as a ______.
3) The film combined ______ montage with edited documentary footage.
4) The most _______ sound effects were those of new machines.
5) Iyvan Kyrla _______ in 1937.
6) The gang of Zhigan _______ Sergeev's efforts.
7) Cinderella stories of peasants rejoicing in the working of the fields and
happily riding on tractors, all beautifully and neatly dressed were the
_______ diet of the 1930s.
IV. Insert the correct preposition (against, at, for, on, since,
through, up):
1. Additional problems were encountered ______ the level of distribution.
2. The different aesthetic principles for silent and sound film had worried
filmmakers _______ the late 1920s.
3. The film relies _______ the plot to show the linear development of the local
people from an unenlightened mass to a conscious collective.
4. Kuzmina struggles ______ the village elders in their reluctance to accept
progress.
5. The orphans were portrayed ______ their use of language.
6. The film points ______ the backwardness of folk beliefs and their danger to
Revolutionary energy.
7. The blame ______ the lack of social progress is laid at the feet of bourgeois
traditions that have no room in Stalin's Russia.
V. Put the words in the right order to make questions.
1) on / working / at / sound / Mezhrabpom / Who / was / systems?
2) sound / with / did / Alexander / equip / Shorin / Leningrad’s / Sovkino /
When?
3) and / did / issue / Pudovkin, / Eisenstein / assistant / Grigori / Alexandrov /
issue / in / What / his / 1928?
4) easily / to / adopted / films / adopted / and / successfully / What / sound?
63
5) films / were / the / Whose / films / earliest / fiction?
6) filmmakers / to / want / to / What / did / want / appeal / Boris / Shumiatsky?
7) dream / the / was / plot / of / Socialist / What / Realist / musicals / typical?

UNIT 3. POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL HEROES (1933-1939)

A part from workers and peasants, individuals who had supported the
regime during the Revolution or the Civil War attained heroic status.
Films were made about historical rebels, such as Stenka Razin, but it was the
monumental hero rather than the popular folk hero who inspired cinematic
narratives.
Barnet’s Outskirts (Okraina, Mezhrabpomfilm 1933) is a tragicomedy set
in 1914 on the outskirts of a remote village that is under German attack. It is one
of the few films to choose as its setting the First World War (rather than the
Civil War).
The Baltic Deputy (Deputat Baltiki, Lenfilm
1936. dir. Alexander Zarkhi (photo on the right)
and Iosif Kheifits) with Nikolai Cherkasov (1903-
1966: he would later perform in Eisenstein’s films)
as Polezhaev, is set in Petrograd in 1917, where the
Reds combat fraud and speculation. Based on the
biography of the botanist Kliment Timiriazev
(1843-1920), Professor Polezhaev writes a
newspaper article to support the workers’ cause, which appals the intelligentsia
and the students alike. Rejected by his own social class, he becomes a deputy
under the new regime. Polezhaev’s counterpart is Alexandra Sokolova (Vera
Maretskaya) in Member of the Government (Chlen pravitel’stva. Zarkhi and
Kheifits. Lenfilm 1940), who becomes chairwoman of a kolkhoz, coping well
with her new role, to the dismay of her husband Yefim who cannot live with an
active and successful wife. She leaves him in order to become a deputy of the
64
Supreme Council, where she thanks the Kremlin in an address. Both films show
the tendency to place the political above personal and everyday commitments.
Many other films of the late 1930s deal with the strength of Revolutionary
heroes: We Are From Kronstadt (My iz Kronshtadta. dir. Yefim Dziaan,
Mosfilm 1936) is set in October 1919, when Petrograd was threatened by the
Whites, and the communists, supported by the sailors from Kronstadt, scored a
victory. The sailor Artem Balashov turns from an adventurer into a conscious
fighter for the Revolutionary cause, providing meaning in life. A Man with a
Gun (Chelovek s ruzh’em, dir.Sergei Yutkevich, Lenfilm 1938) deals with the
support at the front line of the Civil War in 1917. Lev Arnshtam’s Girl Friends
(Podrugi, Lenfilm 1935) tells of three girls who meet with secret
Revolutionaries. During the war they are nurses at the front line: after the
Revolution the girls return, but are attacked by the Whites, and one girl is fatally
injured.
The most popular films of its time,
which has since become a cult film, was no
doubt Chapaev (Lenfilm, 1934). Released
on the seventeenth anniversary of the
Revolution, it was watched by millions.
Directed by the Vasiliev “Brothers” (Georgi
and Sergei Vasiliev – photo on the left), the
film is set in 1919 and based on Commissar Dmitri Furmanov’s novel.
Chapaev’s anarchic crowd merges forces with the detachment of the political
commander Furmanov, and they score a victory over the Whites. A little later
Chapaev is killed, but his army continues the fight. This film was the most
successful portrait of a military commander, largely thanks to Boris Babochkin
(1904-1975), creating Chapaev as a man from the simple people (Chapaev had
been illiterate until the Revolution) who explains battle strategy with the help of
potatoes. Chapaev is driven by his character (rather than action): he is a
charismatic figure, especially in comparison to the fatherly guidance provided
65
by Furmanov, thus emphasizing the harmony between intellectual and simple
man. The directors used long sequences rather than fragmenting views, thus
showing the battle from Chapaev’s perspective, from whence it seemed to
extend in time.
In terms of the attempt to create a national hero, the Ukrainian equivalent
of Chapaev was Shchors (dir. Solntseva and Dovzhenko. Kiev Studio 1939). It
was a very different film, although the hero was as close to the people as
Chapaev and also perished in battle.
Even if Chapaev and Shchors were popularized, because they dealt with
popular heroes, numerous films were made about Lenin, as well as other
historical figures, who – despite the hardship they had endured – led the country
forward. Maxim Straukh (1900-1974) and Boris Shchukin (1894-1939) were the
two actors who were traditionally cast for the part of Lenin, while Mikhail
Gelovani (1893-1956) appeared in the role of
Stalin. Mikhail Romm’s (photo on the right) Lenin
in October (Lenin v oktiabre. Mosfilm 1937) dealt
with the October events and Lenin’s subsequent
criticism of Trotsky. Lenin in 1918 (Lenin v 1918
godu, Mosfilm 1939) covers the role of the secret
service, which prevented attacks on Lenin.
Shchukin’s Lenin was an agitated and mobile
figure, while in later films Straukh would make him more immobile, as he was
presented in the portraits by Isaak Brodsky. Both Shchukin and Straukh were of
small stature as was Lenin. Although Mikhail Gielovani was much taller than
Stalin, he displayed the calm and quiet demeanour of the leader.

TASKS
I. Put the words from the box into the correct column of the table
(noun - verb - adjective):
66
attain comparison detachable narrate emphasis detachment attainable

compare meaning comparable meaningful emphasize narrative detach

noun verb adjective


…. …. ….

II. Complete the sentences with the words above:


1. At this point in her ______, Lou suddenly paused.
2. We place great _______ on the shooting script.
3. These films just aren’t _______ to “Titanic”.
4. Actors have to ______ themselves from their feelings.
5. I like watching funny, entertaining films with _______ messages.
6. There are so many TV channels by which an individual might _______ fame
for a brief period of time.
7. The film tackles important questions, such as the ______  of life.
III. Match the words with their definitions. Give your own sentences
with these words:
1. numerous a) (adj.) coming after something in time; following
2. subsequent b) (adj.) existing or present in large numbers
3. agitated c) (v.) to suffer a violent, sudden or untimely death
4. immobile d) (adj.) with no controlling rules or principles
5. perish e) (adj.) feeling or appearing troubled or nervous
6. anarchic f) (adj.) not moving; motionless
7. illiterate g) (v.) give special importance or value to something
8. charismatic h) (adj.) unable to read or write
9. emphasize i) (adj.) aware of and responding to surroundings
10. conscious j) (adj.) exercising a compelling charm which inspires
devotion in others

67
IV. Complete each sentence by using the nouns formed from the
verbs given in capitals.
1) Outside of his acting career Cherkasov was known as a strong ______
SUPPORT of retired and disabled actors and writers.
2) The official _______ ACKNOWLEDGE of the films Lenin in October
(1937) and Lenin in 1918 (1939) put Mikhail Romm among the leading
Soviet film directors.
3) Samoilov’s _______ APPEAR as the Soviet commander Shchors in
Alexander Dovzhenko’s film won him the Stalin Prize in 1941.
4) Although the plot of the film is often confusing, it is on the whole a very
interesting and fresh _______ PORTRAY of the struggle for communism
against adversity.
5) We Are From Kronstadt portrays a 1919 naval _______ DETACH that
fought off invading White Army forces during the Russian Civil War.
6) Despite her large-scale success in theater it was the cinema that brought
national _______ RECOGNIZE to Maretskaya.
7) Chapaev changes in the film from uneducated peasant to motivational
_______ LEAD with a curiosity for history and a passion for his men. 
V. These expressions are taken from the text. Find one incorrect
collocation in every set.
cast actors for parts / a stone / pearls before geese / away
appear on television / in a role / in print / rare / on Broadway
display great skill / calm demeanor / erudition / at a shop window
deal with polular heroes / fair / the cards / in money laundering
create impassion / a national hero / a fight out of anything
provide with electricity / meaning in life / smb. with many money
turn attention to / over / into a fighter / down upside / seventy
score a victory / 161 points in an IQ test / a greatest success
place the blame in smb. / the political above personal / in danger
perform in films / on the piano / good in the match / miracles
68
UNIT 4. PEASANT AND WORKER HEROES (1934-1938)

P easants and workers became not only the


heroes of Party narratives, but also subjects
of art and popular culture: they were depicted in
the paintings of Alexander Deineka (1899-1969),
showing textile workers at work (Textilshchitsy,
1927). His later painting The Tractor Driver
(Traktorist, 1956) shows a young man, forward-
looking, with a small farm and toy-sized cattle in
the background: man is larger than nature.
In the Soviet period heroes often reflected themes of work and industry.
Across high and low, the worker and the peasant occupied the same rank as
Party leaders: they were all heroes. In a division of the world into communists
and capitalists, there were not many grey shades for psychological portrayals on
the silver screen. Characters tended to be drawn in black-and-white, goodies
against baddies, with little scope for change. Heroes were heroes and would only
need a foil to demonstrate their heroism so it could appear more starkly. A
typical plot explored in musicals was that of the excellent worker rewarded for
his or her achievements with personal happiness, which spurs him or her to an
even better work performance.
The theme of collectivization and the happiness that it brings was
important in Pyriev’s musicals, but was also treated seriously in Ermler’s
Peasants (Krest’iane, Lenfilm, 1934), which explores the communist rationale
behind the ‘dekulakization’. During the collectivization, an unexpected rise in
the number of piglets has led to a crisis in food supply. Gerasim Platonovich
69
decides to divide the piglets into small herds and have them fed by individual
households, effectively introducing a small kulak venture. Gerasim’s wife,
Varvara, tries to gather the pigs when the political section leader Nikolai
Mironovich arrives for an inspection.
Gerasim has sworn to ruin the kolkhoz,
because he is a former kulak whose family
was disowned. It is with disgust that he
listens to his wife praising the bright
communist future of their child; this dream
was originally rendered in the film in an animated sequence showing Varvara
with the child and Stalin, but this had to be deleted as it was not deemed suitable
for the leader to appear in animated form. When Varvara realizes that Gerasim
tries to sabotage the kolkhoz, she runs, in Pavlik Morozov style, to denounce
him. Gerasim kills her brutally, disguising her death as suicide, but Gerasim’s
murder is unmasked and justice is done. Ermler’s film showed the struggle of
the regime to convince peasants of the advantages of the system, but it also hints
at Stalin as the ideal father of Varvara’s unborn child in the animated dream
sequence.
Several major Soviet industrial projects featured in films and turned
workers into heroes: Dneprostroi, the hydro-electric complex on the Dnepr and
one of the most gigantic power station projects of Soviet Russia in the period of
industrialization. Alexander Macheret (1896-1979) made his debut with Man
and Jobs (Dela I liudi, Soyuzkino Moscow 1932), filmed in a realistic manner
with authentic-sounding dialogue as the Dneprostroi worker Zakharov and the
American engineer Clines clash when the latter suggests applying different work
methods: Zakharov’s methods are, of course, better. Echoing the slogan of the
1930s, to ‘overtake and surpass America’, the worker wins over his capitalist
counterpart.
The ‘conflictlessness’ (beskonfliktnost’) of a plot where a good man
becomes even better, which would become a guiding principle in the 1940s,
70
deprived films and plays of an essential ingredient: the clash that led to
development of the plot. Instead, the ‘conflictless’ films tended to present
snapshots of a ‘great society’. Ermler’s Counterplan (Vstrechnyi, Rosfilm
Leningrad 1932) dealt with the first Five-
Year Plan (1928-1932) and the project of a
powerful new turbine, revealing a new
attitude to work. The theme song ‘Song of
the Counterplan’ by Dmitri Shostakovich,
with the upbeat lyrics of Boris Kornilov
(arrested in 1937 and executed in 1938), became the anthem for the United
Nations in 1945.
Dovzhenko’s Ivan (1932) follows the pattern of good to betterment for the
hero: Ivan is a collective farm worker who arrives at Dneprostroi, where he
works hard; he decides to study and join the Party.
Pudovkin’s Deserter was first intended as a co-production with Germany,
but when Hitler came to power the film was made solely in Russia. The German
communist Karl Renn, a dockworker in Hamburg, abandons his comrades
during a strike in 1932 to accept an invitation to the USSR, where he now
works. Hearing of the death of his socialist comrade Zeile, he realizes that he
deserted his comrades and returns to Germany. Another good communist, albeit
foreign, becomes even better. The attractiveness of the Soviet Union is also
emphasized in films featuring the return of those who had left the country before
the Revolution.
Sergei Gerasimov’s Komsomolsk (Lenfilm, 1938) dealt with the new
industrial city projected to be built on the River Amur in 1932, and the potential
sabotage of this project.
These films highlight threats from within and from outside that are
designed to bring the new regime to a downfall, implicitly laying the blame for
failures at the feet of the ‘enemy’ and thus creating a justification for the Purges.
Despite the theme of sabotage, which brings tension to the plot, these films are
71
not appealing because they use stereotypical role models of the good worker and
the villain, or, in the worst case, there is no villain to overcome at all.

TASKS
I. Match the following nouns with prepositions. Translate them,
make your own sentences with these expressions.
1. division a) for
2. scope b) in
3. rise c) for
4. attitude d) to
5. co-production e) for
6. blame f) into
7. justification g) with
II. Complete the text either with an adverb or with an adjective. Put
them in the right form.
1) These films are not appealing because they use stereotypical role models of
the ______ GOOD worker and the villain, or, in the ______ BAD case, there
is no villain to overcome at all.
2) Another_______ GOOD communist, albeit foreign, becomes even______
GOOD in the film.
3) Heroes were heroes and would only need a foil to demonstrate their heroism
so it could appear more _____ STARK. Peasants and workers appeared to
remain______ RELATIVE safe terrain for filmmakers.
4) Ivan is a _______ COLLECTIVE farm worker who arrives at Dneprostroi,
where he works______ HARD.
5) Dneprostroi is the hydro-electric complex on the Dnepr and one of the
______ GIFANTIC power station projects of Soviet Russia.
72
6) As in Peasants, Ermler observed workers and relationships______ MINUTE
to create a _______ REALISTIC portrayal.
7) Man is _______ LARGE than nature the worker wins over his capitalist
counterpart.
III. Insert the necessary words from the list. Translate them:

bright stereotypical forward-looking realistic

black-and-white upbeat latter authentic-sounding

1. They use _________ role models of the good worker and the villain.
2. The theme song ‘Song of the Counterplan’ by Dmitri Shostakovich, with the
_______ lyrics of Boris Kornilov became the anthem for the United Nations
in 1945.
3. Alexander Macheret made his debut with Man and Jobs filmed in a
________ manner with ________ dialogue.
4. Characters tended to be drawn in ________ , goodies against baddies, with
little scope for change.
5. His later painting The Tractor Driver (Traktorist, 1956) shows a young man,
________ , with a small farm and toy-sized cattle in the background.
6. The Dneprostroi worker Zakharov and the American engineer Clines clash
when the ______ suggests applying different work methods.
7. It is with disgust that he listens to his wife praising the ______ communist
future of their child; this dream was originally rendered in the film.
IV. Choose the right form of the words (Participle I or II).
Translate the sentences.
1) The attractiveness of the Soviet Union is also ______ in films ______ the
return of those who had left the country before the Revolution.
a. emphasing; featured

73
b. emphasized; featuring
c. emphasizing; featuring
2) ________ of the death of his socialist comrade Zeile, he realizes that he
deserted his comrades and returns to Germany.
a. hearing
b. heard
c. having heard
3) ________ the slogan of the 1930s, to ‘overtake and surpass America’, the
worker wins over his capitalist counterpart..
a. echoed
b. having echoed
c. echoing
4) It was not ________ suitable for the leader to appear in ______ form.
a. deemed; animating
b. deeming; animating
c. deemed; animated
5) A typical plot explored in musicals was that of the excellent worker _______
for his or her achievements.
a. rewarded
b. rewarding
c. having been rewarded
6) Gerasim Platonovich decides to divide the piglets into small herds and have
them _______ by individual households, effectively _______ a small kulak
venture.
a. fed; introduced
b. feeding; having introduced
c. fed; introducing
7) Gerasim has sworn to ruin the kolkhoz, because he is a former kulak whose
family was _______ .
a. disowned
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b. disowing
c. been disowned

UNIT 5. SOVIET MUSICALS (1934-1941)

T he prominent exponents of the musical comedy were Ivan Pyriev (1901-


1968) and Grigori Alexandrov (1903-1983). Pyriev chose rural settings for
his plots, Alexandrov’s musicals are set in provincial or urban locations. Both
directors use pre-recorded music for their musical interludes and work with
composer Isaak Dunaevsky (1900-1955) and lyricist Vasili Lebedev-Kumach
(1898-1949). The directors’ wives were the stars of their comedies: Marina
Ladynina (1908-2003) and Liubov Orlova (1902-1975). The plots revolve
around the imperfections of the hero, which are overcome with collective’s
support. Meeting places for the couples are parades or the all-Union Exhibition
of Agriculture that started in 1935. The Soviet musical adapts the conventions of
Holliwood musicals: to devise a plot where two characters of opposite values or
lifestyles are confronted and where these oppositions can be overcome through
music.
Alexandrov’s musical debut came with Jolly
Fellows (Veselye rebiata, aka Happy Guys, Moskino-
Kombinat 1934), scripted by Grigori Alexandrov (photo
on the left) with the satirists Vladimir Mass and Nikolai
Erdman. Soviet cinema had its own star: Leonid Utesov
(1895-1982). Utesov, as well as Alexander Tsfasman
(1906-1971), was one of the famous jazzmen of the 1930s and 1940s, who
produced an equivalent of big-band swing for dancing. Dunaevsky’s
composition is inspired by jazz music. Jolly Fellows is about the musically
75
talented shepherd Kostia Potekhin (Utesov), who plays the “March of the Happy
Guys” on his whistle, which attracts a range of followers as he walks through
the fields. The maid Aniuta (Orlova) falls in love with Kostia; she sings while
doing her chores at the inn where she works. Following the pattern of
conventional comedy, Kostia is mistaken for the foreign Frasquini by the
attractive Lena, a bourgeois tourist. Thus he accidentally ends up in Moscow,
where he replaces Frasquini in conducting a music hall orchestra. In the
meantime Lena and Aniuta compete in an audition at the Bolshoi Theatre, where
the band arrives and Kostia is united with the woman he loves: Aniuta. The film
confirms that amateur singers and musicians can move from the counryside to
the city and create genuine art and touches upon another sensitive issue: the high
aspirations that Soviet art has whilst wanting to remain accessible to the people.
Alexandrov’s best-known musical is The Circus (Tsirk, Mosfilm 1936).
Both The Circus and Jolly Fellows were the literary product of a group of
satirists: Ilya Ilf (1897-1937), Yevgeni Petrov (1903-1942) and the latter’s
brother Valentin Kataev (1897-1986), signalling that comedy requires a
grotesque, absurd plot. Alexandrov’s comedies expose reality as varnished or
artificial. The Circus explores the journey of the circus artiste Marion Dixon
(Orlova) from capitalist America to Soviet Russia. Dixon escapes from a crowd
chasing her because she has a mixed-race child out of wedlock which is socially
unacceptable. On the train she meets von Kneischitz, a clear representative of
German fascism, who becomes her manager, exploits and beats her. As the train
moves, its place turns into a ball that becomes a globe with the letters “СССР”
(USSR) written across it – and this spinning ball transports Marion to Russia as
it reappears on the nose of a seal juggling the ball in the Moscow circus. In
Circus, slapstick is associated with Skameikin, the fiance of the circus director’s
daughter, Raika. The love intrigue unfolds at work. Marion’s circus number
consists of a “flight to the moon”, much of her act depending on skilful props
use. By contrast, the new number prepared by Soviet engineer Ivan Martynov
(Sergei Stoliarov, 1911-1969) is called “flight into the stratosphere”: conquering
76
space is the Soviet ambition at the time.
Martynov’s number relies on engineering skills
while Marion’s is an individual one. When Marion
performs the premiere instead of Raika, she
becomes part of a large collective of performers
and audience. The audience becomes her own
family that “adopts” her child Jimmy, cradling him
and singing a lullaby in different languages –
Russian, Ukranian, Yiddish. The large Soviet family comprises all colours and
nationalities: there is more than tragic irony in the scene where Solomon
Mikhoels (1890-1948) (photo on the left), the great actor of the Yiddish Theatre
in Moscow, sings the lullaby in Yiddish: he was murdered during the
“cosmopolitan campaign” against Jews in 1948.
The contrast between light and dark crudely draws the line between good
and bad characters: Kneischitz is dark-haired, Martynov blond and blue-eyed.
Marion changes from dark hair to blonde and changes her clothes too – slips into
the white outfit of the Soviet collective when she marches across Red Square for
the May Day parade,where she sees Stalin – her eyes clearly light up when she
sees Stalin off-screen on the podium. Masha, as she now calls herself, sings the
“Song of the Motherland” that became the unofficial anthem of the USSR.
Composed by Dunaevsky, the song praises the freedom of Soviet man. “I don’t
know any other country where a man can breathe a freer air”. The film also
shows the Soviet Union’s hatred of Nazi Germans.
Alexandrov’s Volga-Volga (Mosfilm 1938), scripted by Erdman with
satirist Mikhail Volpin (1903-1988), is set in a village full of musical talents and
with two amateur musical collectives. The film exposed to laughter the comic
figure of the bureaucrat Ivan Byvalov (Ilinsky, the comic actor), dreaming of a
job in Moscow. He considers no one in the village worthy of participating in a
Moscow amateur competition, where he wants to take Alesha Trubyshkin to
conduct a symphony orchestra. The local postgirl Dunia (Strelka), played by
77
Orlova, entertains everybody with songs and also travels to Moscow. Byvalov’s
steamboat races against Strelka’s sailing ship on the Volga, the singing
competition on the river becomes a prelude to the actual competition, which
Strelka wins, conquering the capital with music loved by the masses: low culture
triumph over the high art of the symphony orchestra.
The Radiant Path (Svetly put’, Mosfilm 1940) is a story of the country girl
Tania (Orlova) who comes to work in an urban textile factory and falls in love
with the engineer Lebedev. Tania advances to a shock-worker, studies and is
elected deputy of the Supreme Council. In the finale, she takes a magic drive in
a black limousine above the clouds and across the Soviet territory. That broad
and wide Soviet land stood at the centre of Ivan
Pyriev’s (pthoto on the right) films. Pyriev had first
made feature films: his Party Card (Partiinyi billet,
Mosfilm 1936) was supported by Stalin. Party Card
had explored the love of a conscientious worker,
Anna, for a new worker. When it turns out that he is
a spy and enemy of the people, she exposes his
activity. Rich Bride (Bogataia Nevesta, Ukrainfilm
1937) was made in Kiev. Marina (Ladynina) works on a collective farm and the
accountant Alexei wants to marry her. He manipulates the statistics to make
Pavlo, a fellow tractor driver with whom she is in love, look like a bad worker.
The Party uncovers the falsified statistics and love ultimately triumphs. In
Tractor Drivers (Tractoristy, Kiev Studio 1939), Klim Yarko (N. Kriuchkov) is
demobilished and returns to the kolkhoz where Mariana (Ladynina) works. He
has seen her photograph in Pravda, where she featured as a leading tractor
driver. Klim conquers Mariana’s heart through hard work and with the support
of the collective. The strong woman is decisive as she stands between two men -
Nazar and Klim.
In The Swineherd and the Shepherd (Svinarka i pastukh, Mosfilm 1941)
Glasha (Ladynina) and Kuzma travel from Vologda to the All-Union
78
Agriculture Exhibition in Moscow; Kuzma (Kriuchkov) is fond of Glasha.
Glasha meets Musaib, a Dagestani shock-shepherd at the exhibition and they
agree to meet again a year later. Kuzma mistranslates Musaib’s letter, makes
Glasha believe that Musaib is married and she accepts Kuzma’s proposal.
Musaib looks for Glasha, learns of the deceit and rides from Moscow to
Vologda to be reunited with his love – to the performance of the “Song of
Moscow”. Once again, a woman between two men is deceived, the evil man
undergoes betterment (Nazar, Kuzma) while the shock-worker (Klim, Musaib)
is rewarded. Dunaevsky’s music contained elements of folk tunes as well as
specially written lyrics commenting on the love intrigue. Happiness is only
possible when duty, vis-a-vis the collective and work, is fulfilled.
Pyriev continued in the kolkhoz musical genre after the war. The Kuban
Cossacks (Kubanskie kazaki, colour, Mosfilm 1949), a love story of the
chairman and chairwoman of kolkhozes. Again, not work but achievements are
central. Galina (Ladynina) and Gordei Voron are in love. Gordei has to win a
race to show his love to her. It is through the Party leader that he learns of her
love – the Party once again takes on the role of the deus ex machina, only in
personal matters – and they are united in a happy end.

TASKS
I. These words are taken from the text. Match the words to make
expressions. Make your own centences with them:
meeting statistics
opposite tunes
conscientious values
prominent competition
falsified worker
actual places
folk exponents
79
II. Complete the sentences by choosing the right word for each gap.
1. Satirists think that comedy [provokes / requires] a grotesque, absurd plot.
2. Two characters of opposite values or lifestyles are [made / confronted].
3. Alexandrov’s films are [full of / fond of] curious turns and slapsticks.
4. It would be very stupid to [fall in love / fall ill] with such an evil man.
5. Dunaevsky’s composition is [expressed / inspired] by jazz music.
6. The “Song of the Motherland” [praised / highlighted] the freedom of Soviet
man.
7. The love intrigue [grows / unfolds] at work.
III. In each sentence add missing prepositions (between, by, for, from,
of, through x 2, to x 2 ):
1) Klim conquers Mariana’s heart _______ hard work and with the support of
the collective.
2) His film Party Card was supported ______ Stalin.
3) It is ______ the Party leader that Gordei learns of her love.
4) It was a love ______ a conscientious worker ______ a new worker.
5) Amateur singers and musicians can move ______ the countryside _____ city
to create a genuine art.
6) The contrast _______ light and dark crudely draws the line between good
and bad characters.
7) Soviet art wants to remain accessible ______ people.
IV. Complete each sentence with the right verb form in capitals.
a) Alexandrov’s Volga-Volga ______ SET in a village full of musical talents
and with two musical amateur collectives.
b) Tania studies and _______ ELECT deputy of the Supreme Council.
c) Dunaevsky’s music _______ CONTAIN elements of folk tunes as well as
specially written lyrics commenting on the love intrigue.
d) They ______ UNITE in a happy end.
e) Pyriev ______ MAKE feature films: his Party Card was supported by Stalin.

80
f) Klim ______ SEE her photograph in Pravda, where she featured as a leading
tractor driver.
g) The new number prepared by Soviet engineer Martynov is called “flight into
the stratosphere”: _____ CONQUER space is the Soviet ambition at the time.

UNIT 6. THE PURGES IN THE CINEMA (1937-1939)

T he 1929 purges had touched the film industry, but the Great Purges would
affect it profoundly. Vladimir Nilsen, cameraman to Eisenstein and
Alexandrov, had been arrested in 1929 and released; he was again arrested at the
height of the Purges and executed in 1938.
At the All-Union Creative Conference on Cinema
Matters in January 1935, Eisenstein as subjected to severe
criticism for not having produced any new films since his
return to the USSR. His arch enemy, Shumiatsky (photo on the
left), in charge of cinema matters, had expressed on numerous
occasions his desire to see filmmakers make films ‘for the
millions’ and that we need genres that are infused with
optimism, with mobilizing emotions, joie de vivre and laughter.
He suggested the genres of musical and historical drama as particularly suitable,
and rejected the complex montage that provided no coherent plot.
Under Shumiatsky, Soyuzkino maintained the Party’s presence in studios
to increase control during the entire production process, ensuring that the right
balance between commerce and ideology was struck. In 1936, Shumiatsky
advanced to the chair of the Committee of Arts Affairs, overseeing not only film
production, but the entire arts sector. Shumiatsky had grand plans for a Soviet
Hollywood on the Black Sea, which were hampered by reality: in 1935 he had
delivered merely forty-three of the 120 films planned, followed by a further drop
in production, which led Pravda to accuse him of wasting money (9 January
81
1938). Shumiatsky had indeed used a large slice of the state budget and had not
delivered the number of films promised; moreover, he had put his foot wrong
with his handling of Eisenstein’s Bezhin Meadow.
Eisenstein had been in Hollywood
from 1929 until 1932, when his contract
with Paramount was cancelled because of
differences in opinions. Eisenstein had
travelled to Mexico to make a film when he
was recalled to Soviet Russia by a telegram
from Stalin; he had to leave most of the
unedited film footage behind. From 1933 onwards he taught at the Film
Institute. Back in Soviet Russia, Eisenstein first applied to make a film based on
a comedy script entitled MMM (Maxim Maximovich Maximov), a project he
abandoned. A project for a film about Moscow was also dropped.
In 1935 Eisenstein began working on Bezhin Meadow (Bezhin lug,
Mosfilm 1935-7), which was loosely based on Turgenev’s Huntsman’s Sketches,
comparing old and new ways of peasant life. Stepok, the main character was
modelled on Pavlik Morozov, the legendary pioneer boy who denounced his
parents for hoarding grain and who was murdered by his relatives. The
disturbing theme of both the Morozov legend and the film is that of betraying
parental links for the sake of Party loyalty. Moreover, there is a scene when the
peasants enter the church where the kulaks have been hiding, destroying the
interior, which reflected Stalin’s anti-religious campaigns.
Whilst the workers had biblical features, the scene extended its religious
meaning by suggesting that Stalin was a (pagan) god, who dominated the Soviet
culture in the 1930s. Bezhin Meadow was halted in March 1937 by Shumiatsky.
Eisenstein had to write about his ‘errors’ in the film in 1937 and publicly repent.
Amidst growing fear of ideological errors, Purges and repression, political
circumstances often changed before films were completed. The style of films in

82
the latter half of the 1930s became dull and non-experimental. The acting
became stale, reminding Jay Leyda of the style of old-fashioned performances.

TASKS
I. Match the words to make a word combination. Find them in the
text. Translate them, make your own sentences with them.
1. complex a) footage
2. coherent b) enemy
3. production c) process
4. film d) script
5. comedy e) character
6. arch f) plot
7. main g) montage
II. Complete the text with the words from the box in the right form. Translate the
sentences:

performance latter plan leave behind suggest drop publicly

1) The acting became stale, reminding Jay Leyda in old-fashioned _______ .


2) The style of films in the _______ half of the 1930s became dull.
3) Eisenstein had _______ most of the unedited film footage ______ .
4) Eisenstein had to write about his ‘errors’ in the film in 1937 and ______
repent.
5) In 1935 Shumiatsky had delivered merely forty-three of the 120 films
______ .
6) Whilst the workers had biblical features, the scene extended its religious
meaning by ______ that Stalin was a (pagan) god.
7) A project for a film about Moscow ______ also ______ .

83
III. Insert the necessary preposition (because of, during, for, from,
in x 4, of x 2, on, to, under, until, with).
1. Vladimir Nilsen, cameraman ____ Eisenstein and Alexandrov, had been
arrested in 1929.
2. His arch enemy, Shumiatsky, _____ charge of cinema matters, had expressed
_____ numerous occasions his desire to see filmmakers make films ‘for the
millions’.
3. _____ Shumiatsky, Soyuzkino maintained the Party’s presence ____ studios
to increase control ______the entire production process.
4. In 1935 Shumiatsky had delivered merely forty-three of the 120 films
planned, followed _____ a further drop ______ production, which led Pravda
to accuse him _____ wasting money.
5. Moreover, Shumiatsky had put his foot wrong ____ his handling ____
Eisenstein’s Bezhin Meadow.
6. Eisenstein had been in Hollywood ____ 1929 ____1932, when his contract
with Paramount was cancelled _____ differences _____ opinions.
7. The disturbing theme of both the Morozov legend and the film is that of
betraying parental links____for____the sake of Party loyalty.
IV. Put the words in the right order to make questions. Then
answer them.
1) been / and / in / arrested / later / had / Who / released / 1929?
2) the / Purges / did / industry / touch / How / the / film?
3) Eisenstein / by / for / criticized / Shumiatsky / was / What?
4) How / in / maintain / the / Party’s / did / presence / Soyuzkino / the / studios?
5) hadn’t / Shumiatsky / plans / for / he / a Soviet / grand / Hollywood / had?
6) did / of / Shumiatsky / What / Pravda / accuse?
7) What / publicly / Eisenstein / did / errors / repent / and / about / write / have /
to?

84
UNIT 7. SOVIET WAR FILMS (PART 1)

T he highly popular film by Mark Donskoy


(photo on the right), The Rainbow (Raduga,
Kiev/Ashkhabad, 1943), portrayed women
partisans: Olessia Kostiukh returns to her village to
give birth, but she is brutally killed by the Nazis.
Her child is murdered in a shed, just before
Christmas; another boy falls into barbed wire that
forms a crown around his head, so that the film is
permeated with religious imagery that underlines the theme of sacrifice. She is
juxtaposed with the despicable character of Pusia, the wife of a partisan, who
betrays her husband with a German officer. When the village is liberated,
Pusia’s husband returns and shoots her. The praise of Olessia’s loyalty is
visually rendered through the rainbow extending over the village after the
liberation.
Yuli Raizman’s Mashenka (TsOKS 1942) is set in the Winter War. Masha
Stepanova works at a telegraph exchange and attends evening classes to become
a nurse. She meets the cab driver Alexei Soloviev and encourages him to
prepare for the entrance exam for technical college because she is fond of him –
until she sees him with another girl. During the Winter War, Alexei is injured
and is brought into Mashenka’s care in a field hospital. Inspired by her sense of
duty, he returns to the front. Mashenka is a more engaging film thematically,

85
which nevertheless brings home two points: the need to learn and advance
oneself; and the need to place social interests above private ones.
Ermler’s She Defends the Motherland (Ona zashchishala rodinu, TsOKS,
1943), with Maretskaya as Praskovia (Pasha) Lukianova, was an equally
engaging film: Pasha is a happy woman before the fascists mortally wound her
husband and hurl her son under a tank. Full of
anger she organizes resistance, dispels the false
news of Moscow’s fall and raises the people to
fight. When the Germans capture Pasha, the
partisans liberate her. Whereas earlier in the war,
films tended to show the suffering, towards 1943
films became more assertive: Pasha’s resistance is
ultimately successful.
Boris Barnet’s (photo on the left) Secret Agent (Podvig razvedchika, Kiev
Studio 1947) explored the mission of Russian agent Fedotov (Pavel
Kadochnikov 1915-1988), who infiltrates Nazi Germany during the war. Other
war films showed the betrayal and more compromise faced by those who helped
partisans (Barnet, A Priceless Head [Bestsennaia golova], TsOKS 1942) or who
took a risk by hiding Soviet soldiers (Barnet, Dark is the Night [Odnazhdy
noch’iu], Yerevan Studio 1945). Lev Arnshtam’s Zoya (Soyuzdetfilm 1944)
enshrined on the screen the myth of Zoya Kosmodemianskaya (1923-1941), the
legendary partisan spy engaged in sabotage of the Nazis on Soviet territory,
Zoya did not betray her comrades and was hanged by the Nazi invaders.
Alexander Stolper’s Wait for Me (Zhdi menia, TsOKS, 1943) advocated
the necessity for hope and loyalty through the story of a soldier, Yermolov, who
takes with him his apartment keys when leaving for the front. His wife Liza
waits, never giving up hope, even when he goes missing. Her devotion and faith

86
are contrasted with that of her friend Sonya, who abandons hope and arranges
her life with a prosperous lover; her husband dies during the war. The film
showed the task of Soviet women: Believe in the victory and thus assist its
realization.

TASKS
I. Match the words with their definitions. Make your own
sentences with these words:
1. permeat a) (v.) to place different things together in order to
create an interesting effect or to show how they are the
same or different
2. juxtapose b) (v.) to cause smb. to be in a specified condition
3. dispel c) (adj.) confident in behavior or style
4. render d) (v.) to diffuse through or penetrate something
5. assertive e) (v.) to leave and never return to someone or
something; to leave a place because of danger
6. enshrine f) (v.) to make something, such as a belief, feeling, or
idea go away or end
7. abandon g) (v.) to remember and protect something or someone
that is valuable, admired, etc.
II. Match the words on the left with words on the right to make
expressions.
field film

87
engaging exam
despicable interests
ultimately lover
entrance character
prosperous hospital
social successful
III. Complete the sentences using a suitable preposition (with x 2, up, by,
for, in, of):

1) Her devotion and faith are contrasted ___ that of her friend Sonya.
2) Inspired ___ her sense of duty, he returns to the front.
3) His wife Liza waits, never giving ___ hope, even when he goes missing.
4) She encourages him to prepare ___ the entrance exam for technical college
because she is fond ___ him.
5) Believe ___ the victory and thus assist its realization.
6) Her devotion and faith are contrasted ___ that of her friend Sonya.
IV. Fill in the gaps with a suitable form of the verb (active or
passive). 
1. Her child ________ MURDER in the shed. 
2. When the village _______ LIBERATE, her husband ______ RETURN and
_______ SHOOT her. 
3. She ________ BE a legendary partisan _______ ENGAGE in sabotage. 
4. Alexei ______ INJURE and ______ BRING into her care in a field hospital. 
5. The praise of her loyalty ______ RENDER through a rainbow ______
EXTEND over the village. 
6. She ________ JUXTAPOSE with the despicable character of Pusia.
7. Other war films _______ SHOW the betrayal and more compromise ______
FACE by those who helped partisans.

88
V. Fill in the following abstract with the missing words.
Ermler’s She Defends the Motherland (Ona zashchishala rodinu, TsOKS,
1943), with Maretskaya as Praskovia (Pasha) Lukianova, was an (1) ____
engaging film: Pasha is a happy woman before the fascists mortally (2) ____ her
husband and (3) ____ her son under a tank. Full of anger she organizes (4)
____ , dispels the false news of Moscow's fall and raises the people to fight.
When the Germans (5) ____ Pasha, the partisans liberate her. Whereas earlier in
the war, films (6) ____ to show the suffering, towards 1943 films became more
(7) ____ : Pasha's resistance is ultimately successful.

89
UNIT 8. SOVIET WAR FILMS (PART II)

I n Semen Timoshenko’s (photo on the right)


Celestial Sloth (Nebesnyi tikhohod, Lenfilm
1945), three bachelor pilots vow not to fall in love
until the war is over, yet one after other they break
their vow when they meet women pilots. The
women are, however, not portrayed as devout
Soviet soldiers, but as flirtatious and pretty, guided
by these strong men. The film was a box office
success after its release in 1946, bringing an upbeat note to Soviet life. In Abram
Room’s The Invasion (Nashestvie, TsOKS 1944), the support of the Soviet
campaign extends to the ex-prisoner Fedor Talanov, who had served a sentence -
unjustly. He wants to fight, but is not trusted. Only when he kills a German
officer and subsequently goes to the gallows to save the partisan chief who had
rejected him earlier can he redeem himself and profess his true love for the
fatherland. The film caused controversy when the authorities refused to believe
that soldiers would be rejected, arguing that Soviet men were never sentenced
unjustly. All these films draw compassionate and appealing portrayals of the
heroes and heroines who sacrifice their lives for the fatherland or are unjustly
treated. The notion of sacrifice of life for the country carried within it religious
overtones, further enhanced by the sudden return of church officials to the
public arena at the height of the war.
The singly most important film during the war is without doubt Ivan the
Terrible (Ivan groznyi, Mosfilm), made in two parts and comparing the
leadership of the sixteenth-century tsar with Stalin. Stalin had commissioned
Eisenstein to make a film about Ivan the Terrible, wanting to have comparisons

90
drawn between his own strong leadership and that of Ivan, who had unified
Russia in the sixteenth century.
In the first part Eisenstein showed Ivan’s coronation and his plans for a
Russian state, which are opposed by his close friends Kurbsky and Kolychev.
Ivan (in a stunning performance by Cherkasov) wins the support of Maliuta
Skuratov, who would become his most faithful servant. Kazan is freed from the
Tartar yoke and a new ally, Basmanov, warns Ivan of the boyars. Ivan marries
Anastasia and is grief-stricken when she is poisoned by Yefrosinia, who, in a
plot with the boyars, tries to place her son
Vladimir on the throne. When Basmanov
suggests the formation of an army of
oprichniki (the tsar’s private guard), the tsar
agrees, but retires to the convent
Alexandrova Slobodan and will only return
at he people’s request. The people approach
the monastery, forming an impressively long line in the snow-covered fields,
confirming to Ivan that he is loved by the people, the assertion he sought. Ivan
forms a towering figure against white walls of the monastery in the final frame,
as he rises to the challenge.
The first part satisfied Stalin: it revealed parallels both in personal and
political life, such as the theme of betrayal through friends, which reflected
Stalin’s increasing suspicion after the Purges; Stalin’s grief after the loss of his
wife Nadia, allegedly killed by his enemies (she actually committed suicide);
and the need for a private guard (Stalin NKVD). All these parallels served to
justify Ivan’s actions, sanctioning them through the final scene, which expressed
the people’s approval. Having united the people behind him and sidelined the
boyars, the film depicts a strong man.

91
TASKS
I. Match the following words with their definitions, make your own
sentences with them: 
1. devout a) (n.) a serious argument about something that
involves many people and continues for a long time
2. controversy b) (adj.) extremely beautiful
3. enhance c) (adj.) deeply religious

4. stunning d) (n.) when a plan, decision, or person is officially


accepted

5. vow e) (n.) feeling sympathy for people who are suffering


6. approval f) (n.) a serious promise 
7. compassionate g) (v.) to improve something
II. Match the words on the left with words on the right to make
expressions. Make sentences with them.

stunning note
faithful suspicion
towering approval
appealing servant
upbeat figure
people’s performance 

92
increasing portraits

III. Fill in with the following verbs (depicts, break, served x 2,


approach, draw):
1. Yet one after another they ______ their vows. 
2. He _____ a sentence unjustly.
3. All these films _____ compassionate and appealing portraits. 
4. The people _____ the monastery.
5. All these parallels _____ to justify Ivan's actions. 
6. This film _____ a strong Ivan. 
IV. Fill in the gaps with the missing prepositions (between, for, from,
in, to, without).
1) They vow not to fall ___ love until the war is over. 
2) They sacrifice their lives ___ the fatherland.
3) ___ doubt, it's a very interesting film. 
4) He wanted to have comparisons drawn ___ him and Ivan the Terrible. 
5) Kazan is freed ___ the Tartar yoke. 
6) This film brought an upbeat note ___ Soviet life. 
V. Fill in the gaps with a suitable form of the verb in capitals. 
1. The film _____ BE a box office success after its release in 1946.
2. All these parallels _______ SERVE to justify Ivan's actions, ________
SANCTION them through the final scene.
3. ________ HAVE united the people behind him and _______ SIDELINE the
boyars, the film ______ DEPICT a strong Ivan. 

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4. The people ________ APPROACH the monastery, ______ FORM a long
line.
5. This film _______ BE about heroes who ______ TREAT unjustly. 
6. The women _______ NOT PORTRAY as devout Soviet soldiers. 

CONCLUSION

This is a book devoted to the history of Russian cinematography,


combining social history, economics and a precise and effective sense of film
criticism. Movies first made contact with working-class needs and desires and
became the most popular and influential medium of culture both in the pre-
revolutionary and soviet Russia. Those were the times when the country
transformed itself into a predominantly urban industrial society. The book spans
the gap from the beginning of motion pictures to their firm establishment as
mass entertainment. Significantly, the book explains many little-known aspects
of the Russian film industry, but, more important, it also goes a long way toward
explaining the historical development of our country in the XX-th century.

94
The book is well-designed and expertly illustrated by a group of talented
lecturers of Saint-Petersburg Institute of Cinema and Television. In chapters 1-9
of Part I prepared by G. Zimmerman, K. Vyalyak, S. Golubeva, L. Avakyan, V.
Baryshnikova and А. Neustroyeva students learn about pre-revolutionary
Russian cinematography, the soviet comedies and importance of
cinematography for the cultural revolution. In chapters 1-8 of Part II, prepared
by E. Teneva, M. Ivankiva, E. Maksimova, I. Pantyukhina and S. Pankratova
students learn about the soviet cinematography of the mid-XX century – the
purges, the appearance of sound film, its political and peasant protagonists, the
soviet musicals and the Great Patriotic war films.
This book is well-structured – it is divided in two thematic parts (Part I
and Part II) broken down into 17 chapters, followed by keys to exercises and
bibliography. Exercises develop lexical awareness, practice collocations,
question formation, synonymic choice, word-formation and many aspects of
grammar. Authors hope that learners of English will become more competent
and knowledgeable in the field of cinematography with the help of this
interesting edition.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Beumers B. A History of Russian Cinema. / Birgit Beumers. – English


edition. New York, 2009. 230 p.
2. The World of Cinema. В мире кино: книга для чтения на англ. яз. учеб.
пособие. / сост. И.В. Ступников. – М. Высш. Школа, 1988. – 126 с.
3. Movie stars. White star S.P.A. Italy, 2008. – 735 p.
4. Богомолов Ю. Краткий конспект длинной истории советского кино: 20-
е годы. // Искусство кино. 1995., – Москава, «Прогресс», 111 с.
5. Голдовский Е. М. От немого кино к панорамному / Н. Б. Прокофьева. –
М.,: Издательство Академии наук СССР, 1962. 149 с.
95
6. Згуриди А. Экран. Наука. Жизнь. – М:, Искусство,1983. – C. 20-39.
7. Из истории кино. Сборник. Выпуск 7., Издат-во “Искусство”, М. 1999.
8. Ларионов А. Такое вот кино. // Советская Россия. 1996. – С. 4-24.
9. Медведев А. Только о кино. Кино в России история ХХ век. //
Искусство кино. 1999, № 2., 55 с.
10.Первый русский продюсер. // Эксперт, 1997, 120с.
11.Теплиц Ежи. История киноискусства 1928-1933. Изд-во “Прогресс”, –
М., 1971, 200 c.
12.Толстых В. Муза века: 100 лет кино. Изд-во «Прогресс», 1995, 128с.
13.Фрейлих С.И. Теория кино: от Эйзенштейна до Тарковского. – М.:
Искусство,1992, 120 с.
14.Юренев Р. Чудесное окно: Краткая история мирового кино. – М.
«Просвещение», 1983, 200 с.
15.www.digitalcinema.ru/content/press/
16.www.russianfilmindustry_nevafilm2009_ru
17.www.bergpublishers.com
18.www.whitestar.it

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