Soviet Cinema. Film Periodicals, 1918-1942 - Part 2. Newspapers
Soviet Cinema: Film Periodicals, 1918-1942
Prewar Soviet Cinema
This new collection includes Soviet film magazines and newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s, reflecting the most interesting and fertile period in the history of Russian film. Film publications were revived in the early 1920s after being interrupted in 1918 by Bolshevik censorship. In the beginning, the film press offered detailed coverage of the industry, both in the USSR and abroad, in addition to advertising western films playing on Soviet screens. Films from the west were a source of great interest and made up a significant part of the Soviet film repertoire for many years. Both film and general publications of the period presented ongoing discussions of the prudence of showing western films in the Soviet Union. This discussion was concluded by the end of the 1920s with the introduction of a partial and eventually complete ban on imported films, marking the beginning of a campaign to “proletarize” Soviet art. The newspaper Kino began exposing class enemies, formalists and anyone guilty of introducing bourgeois influences into cinematography. The mass-distributed Sovetskii Ekran was turned into a didactic weekly paper. By the mid-1930s, ideological consensus and Socialist Realism as the dominant mode in art came to the fore in film, as in all other areas of Soviet art.
Film Periodicals from the 1920s and 1930s
Film periodicals from the 1920s and 1930s are a unique source for a variety of information on the history of Soviet cinematography, and the material has yet to be fully studied and appreciated by scholars. These publications are largely absent from book collections in the West, and are now presented for the first time as a large, complete set.
Film publications shed light on the production side of Soviet cinematography, as well as on the theoretical and practical concepts developed by the period’s leading directors and critics. They also highlight the role of film in Soviet cultural life. Film magazines and newspapers featured articles by leading Soviet directors (Lev Kuleshov, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Abram Room), as well as members of the avant-garde LEF, leading authors and philologists.
In addition to the immense academic value of the publications, several magazines in particular, such as Kino-Fot, were known for their graphic art, including Aleksandr Rodchenko’s first creative experiments in graphic design.
Official in-house publications are of particular interest, especially Repertuarinyi Biuilleten’ (1926-1930) and Repertuarnye Sborniki (1932-1942), which offer an inside view of film censorship. Each month these two periodicals printed annotated lists of films that were prohibited or allowed for screening, as well as instructions and other regulations governing Soviet cinematography. This set also includes a number of newspapers that covered day-to-day production at the studios and not well known by Russian and foreign scholars: Lenfilm’s Kadr (1930-1941), Mosfilm’s Bolshevistskii Fil’m (1932-1941), Mezhrabpom’s Rot-Fil’m (1933-1936) and Kinofront (1935-1936), published by the Kazan film stock factory.
Rashit Yangirov, Moscow