Russian & Soviet Cinema: From Avant-Garde to Socialist Realism

SLAV 525 - Fall 2021
SLAV 525

This course will begin with the Golden Age of Soviet cinema: the period 1924-1929 during which Soviet filmmakers produced some of the greatest films in the history of cinema. Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov, Esfir Shub, and Oleksandr Dovzhenko became known the world over for their radically innovative approaches to cinematography and montage. Their films were revolutionary both in form and content and reflected the period of radical social and political transformation that followed the 1917 Russian Revolution.

From the revolutionary twenties, we will then move to what became known as the Great Turning Point: the years 1928-1932 that witnessed the transition from avant-garde art to Socialist Realism. This period was also marked by the coming of sound to cinema that altered the ways movies were made and received. Sound technology introduced the new genre of the musical comedy, as well as bringing the “voice of power” to screens to directly address the mass viewer.

In the last part of the course, we will look at the different genres and styles from the 1930s that helped form the canon of Stalinist film.

Instructor: Lilya Kaganovsky

F 10:00 - 12:00 on Zoom