Radical Transformation from Tsarist Empire to Socialist State

Why Soviet?
Brief Historical Overview: A Radical Transformation from
Tsarist Empire to Socialist State
1917: Bolshevik Revolution (or October Revolution)
1917–1923: Russian Civil War
1922: USSR (Soviet Union)
Leadership: Vladimir I. Lenin (1870–1924)
Socialist Policy
• Planned economy • Centralized government • End of private property • Based on class struggle
Contributions of Soviet Cinema
Ideological: the political power of cinema
Mode of production: centralized planning of cinema by
the State
Style: New approach to cinema through montage
• Is Soviet cinema the only
ideological cinema?
• Examples of other types of
ideology present in the silent
cinema we have studied so far?
From Russian to Soviet Cinema
“Of all of the arts, for us the cinema is the most important” (Lenin, 1922)
Nationalization of
Film Industry
and the struggle
against foreign
• 1918:
People’s Commissariat of Education (Narkompros) starts to oversee the cinema
• August 1919:
Lenin Decree starts nationalization of film industry
• 1919:
State film school (now the Gerasimov Institute of
• Increasing centralization of film production and
Gozkino 1922
Sovkino 1925
Agit-train taking film projections to the countryside
(Thompson and Bordwell, p.122)
State Film School nowadays
(Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, Moscow)
The State
Film School:
a new
approach to
What is montage?
• Led by Lev Kuleshov at the State Film School
• The beginning of the idea of montage
• The “Kuleshov Effect”
• Formed some of the main names of Soviet
Montage cinema such as Sergei Eisenstein,
Vsevolod Pudovkin
Kuleshov Effect
What is the
between montage
and classical
continuity editing?
In montage, cinematic meaning emerges from
the CUTS that create a relation between shots.

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