Shalon Van Tine provides an overview of Soviet Film and its development in relation to the politics of the USSR and Bolshevik Revolution.
The Rise of Soviet Film
In 1896, the Lumière brothers visited Saint Petersburg to present their collection of moving pictures to a small Russian audience, marking the first viewing of film in Russia.1 The first film to be made in Russia was during the same year: a filming of the coronation of what would be Russia’s last monarch, Tsar Nicholas II.2 It would take nearly a decade for Russia to have its own film studio, and the advent of World War I slowed the influx of foreign cinema, leaving Russia to launch its own film industry instead of relying predominantly on foreign film distributors.3 Once established, Russia’s film industry grew, and, by 1914, about half of Russia’s urban population regularly attended the movies.4
However, the Bolsheviks would revolutionize Russian cinema as leaders recognized the potential of film propaganda as a way to influence the political and social attitudes of the people.5 Vladimir Lenin clearly understood the power of film, as he stated, “Of all the arts, for us, cinema is most important.”6 The Bolsheviks nationalized the film industry in 1919, giving the People’s Commissariat for Education control over film production, with a mandate to use cinema to promote the Communist cause at home and abroad.
(continued at: https://tinyurl.com/yfvxl459
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