Soviet Cinema in the Silent Era, 1918-35

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The golden age of Soviet cinema, in the years following the Russian Revolution, was a time of both achievement and contradiction, as reflected in the films of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and Kuleshov. Tensions ran high between creative freedom and institutional constraint, radical and reactionary impulses, popular and intellectual cinema, and film as social propaganda and as personal artistic expression. In less than a decade, the creative ferment ended, subjugated by the ideological forces that accompanied the rise of Joseph Stalin and the imposition of the doctrine of Socialist Realism on all the arts. Soviet Cinema in the Silent Era, 1918-1935 records this lost golden age. Denise Youngblood considers the social, economic, and industrial factors that influenced the work of both lesser-known and celebrated directors. She reviews all major and many minor films of the period, as well as contemporary film criticism from Soviet film journals and trade magazines. Above all, she captures Soviet film in a role it never regained-that of dynamic artform of the proletarian masses.