Film in 1930s Russia

1930’s for Russia was considered to be the decade of social construction. Russia society was going through many changes and one was the film industry. This brought a large audience to the theaters in Russia. This change of the film industry was led by the new organization of Soiuzkino and its new chairmen Boris Shumiatkiiwhich. They were responsible for financing and production of most films during this time period. Sovkino helped strengthen ideological control over filmmaking by introducing censorship of screenplays and instituting rules for film reviews in central media. The chairmen Boris main goal was to make the film industry self-financing but highly controlled by the government. Another goal was to change the idea of the actual film to make it more “accessible”, more entertaining and enjoyable f or the audience. Another big name in Russian film is Sergei Eisenstein.  Even though film was taking a different direction the film scenarios was highly controlled by the government. Both Eisenstein and Shumiakiiwhich obstructed by the government’s controls there were other directors that liked this “new direction” of the film industry. There were two big film hits in 1934 with a large Soviet audience which were: Happy-Go-Lucky Fellows, and Vasiliev Brothers’ Chapaev.  Vasiliev Brothers’ Chapaev was based on a true story on a hero named Chapaev which was an everyday soldier that rose in command during the Civil War. The movie was based on the novel by Dmitrii Furmanov based on Chapaev’s courageous story. “Under the under his commissioner, he taught his undisciplined troops the value of order, subordination, and the primacy of the cause over the individual (Geldern).”  The change of film was able to give the Russian society a new look into the world of film and a better entertaining type of film.   

Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein


Advertisement for the film Vasiliev Brothers’ Chapaev


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Author of Above article: James von Geldem


3 thoughts on “Film in 1930s Russia

  1. I wrote about the same topic and found it so interesting that film became less serious and more entertaining in the Soviet world. If anything, I would have expected for Stalin to want the films to reflect a perfect Soviet lifestyle, however, this was true of films before Stalin’s reign.

  2. Great post, the tension between state control and artistic freedom in Soviet cinema is incredibly interesting, if a bit difficult to follow at times. Your post does a good job of highlighting some important points of that tension.

    Also, Chapaev is a wonderful film.

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