Early Soviet Cinema: Innovation, Ideology and Propaganda by David Gillespie

By David Gillespie

Early Soviet Cinema: Innovation, Ideology and Propaganda examines the aesthetics of Soviet cinema in the course of its "golden age" of the Twenties, opposed to a historical past of cultural ferment and the development of a brand new socialist society. Separate chapters are dedicated to the paintings of Sergei Eisenstein, Lev Kuleshov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov and Alexander Dovzhenko. different significant administrators also are mentioned at size. David Gillespie areas basic specialize in the textual content, with research focusing on the inventive traits, instead of the political implications, of every movie. the result's not just a dialogue of every director's contribution to the "golden age" and to international cinema but in addition an exploration in their personal precise poetics.

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A mother clasps her dead son and ascends the steps to appeal to the Cossacks, as everyone flees downwards. Characters whom Eisenstein has focused on in the crowd we see again: the teacher is slashed across the face (her pince·nez is smashed, intensifying the horror of the scene, but also reminding us of the pince·nez of Dr Smirnov back on the ship, through whose lens the squirming maggots were magnified), the young mother is shot in the stomach (symbolically, an attack on the womb, on children and by extension the future), and lets go of her pram.

The most captivating aspect of the film is the role of Michael, performed by Fogel. He is not an out-and-out villain, for in the course of the film he is seen playing the flute, being affectionate towards his dog, and weeping when he recalls his mother back home. Rather, his violence is provoked, especially by the taunts of Dutchy and Harkey, who laugh at him as he is reduced to doing the laundry in the hut while they do the men's work of looking for gold. The insults and persistent homosexual innuendo only further enrage Michael, who was, after all, the first of them to strike gold.

In 1920 Eisenstein was demobilised and moved to Moscow, where he became involved in Proletkult, an organisation that, fired by revolutionary idealism, advocated the creation and development of a proletarian art culture. In the next few years Eisenstein would become immersed in the world of the theatre, working with the avant-garde director Vsevolod Meierkhold, and becoming acquainted with Grigory Alexandrov (with whom he would develop a significant working relationship), and the future directors Sergei lutkevich, Grigory Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg.

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