The Cinema of Russia and the Former Soviet Union

Edited by Birgit Beumers. Preface by Sergei Bodrov

Wallflower Press

The Cinema of Russia and the Former Soviet Union

Google Preview

Pub Date: April 2007

ISBN: 9781904764984

288 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $29.50£24.00

Pub Date: April 2007

ISBN: 9781904764991

288 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $80.00£62.00

The Cinema of Russia and the Former Soviet Union

Edited by Birgit Beumers. Preface by Sergei Bodrov

Wallflower Press

This volume explores the cinema of the former Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, ranging from the pre-Revolutionary period to the present day. It offers an insight into the development of Soviet film, from 'the most important of all arts' as a propaganda tool to a means of entertainment in the Stalin era, from the rise of its 'dissident' art-house cinema in the 1960s through the glasnost era with its broken taboos to recent Russian blockbusters. Films have been chosen to represent both the classics of Russian and Soviet cinema as well as those films that had a more localised success and remain to date part of Russia's cultural reference system. The volume also covers a range of national film industries of the former Soviet Union in chapters on the greatest films and directors of Ukrainian, Kazakh, Georgian and Armenian cinematography. Films discussed include Strike (1925), Earth (1930), Ivan's Childhood (1962), Mother and Son (1997) and Brother (1997).
The latest in Wallflower's excellent 24 Frames series, each of which examines a national (or regional) cinema by commenting on two-dozen selected movies. Typically, the Russian volume - edited by Birgit Bemuers, introduced by Sergei Bordov (Prisoner of the Mountains) and covering 1916 to the present - avoids, where possible, the too obvious, or too voluminously written-about: thus we have Richard Taylor on Eisenstein's Strike rather than Battleship Potemkin; Natasha Synessios on Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood rather than Andrei Rublev. Typically, too, the thematic content is rich, if - in the context of ten-page articles - succinct and introductory.Of the stuff I know, Ian Christie writes exemplary summations of Lev Kuleshov's influential 1924 agitprop adventure Mr West in the Land of the Bolsheviks and Aleksandr Sokurov's Russian Ark, as does Anthony Anemone of Aleksei German's long-banned My Friend Ivan Lapshin, but there are equally interesting and informative pieces on (even) more obscure movies, from the musical Carnival Night to animations like Norstein's Tale of Tales. It's obvious that the writers are drawn from the academic pool, but in the main, they show an enviable ability to address and appeal to a wider, if still serious, audience.Wally Hammond, Time Out
An excellent introduction to some of the leading Russian and Soviet filmmakers and films... Highly recommended.Choice
A welcome and useful contribution... it would make an excellent textbook for upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of Soviet and Russian cinema.Seth Graham, Russian Review
Valuable supplementary reading... the collection is significant because it provides an excellent introduction to the cinema of the former Soviet Union.Elena Baraban, Canadian Slavonic Papers

About the Author

Birgit Beumers is Senior Lecturer in the Russian Department at Bristol University. Her publications include Burnt by the Sun (2000) and PopCulture: Russia! (2005).