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Russian film

Related: Russian cinema - Amos Vogel

from the book Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

To anyone acquainted with the Soviet cinema of the Stalin era -- 
a numbing succession of academic, conventional, "bourgeois" 
works reflecting the ossified ideological superstructure -- 
a return to the great Soviet masterpieces of the 1920s is 
the equivalent of a trip to another planet.  As in politics, the 
two periods are aesthetically and thematically poles apart. 

Never before had there existed a state-financed, nationalized cinema 
entirely devoted to subversion as was built in Russia after the October 
revolution.  The creation of a new conciousness, the destruction of 
reactionary values, the demolition of myths of state, church, and capital -- 
these objectives were to permeate the ideological superstructure of the 
proletarian state, its arts, its education.  And the cinema --- in Lenin's view, 
the most important of the arts -- was to assume a central role in the struggle; 
for it was the art form most accessible to the dispersed, illiterate masses. 

Several factors contributed to the unprecedented explosion of creative energy 
forever linked with the towering achievements of the early Soviet cinema. 
Among these were the profoundly liberating, innovative tendencies freed by 
the liquidation of the former regime, the exuberant hopes for the creation of a 
first society of equality and freedom, and the Lenin-Trotsky-Lunacharsky decision, 
despite their insistence on proletarian dictatorship, to permit freedom of expres- 
sion to the various artistic tendencies beginning to develop.  This was particu- 
larly significant, since Lenin's views on the arts were conservative and tinged 
by that same ascetic puritanism so often found in the revolutionary movement. 

from the book Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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