Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers

Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers

Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers

Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers

Synopsis

One of the most fascinating aspects of film studies is how it can explain more about the nature of "closed" societies. In Eastern Europe, artists, intellectuals, and entertainers are now free to create film outside the direct control of the state. And this unique handbook convincingly also shows how much film art was being produced behind the Iron Curtain even during such repressive periods as those under Stalin and Brezhnev. Slater has compiled a valuable history of cinematic evolution in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through the use of detailed historiographical essays for each country. Many filmmakers were still able to produce artistically important films, but often they were forced to become propagandizers for their authoritarian governments. This book outlines the film achievements in the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc countries, and it shows how their people responded to the films they were allowed to see.

Excerpt

The idea for this project occurred in approximately late 1986 while I was working on the reference book Milos Forman: a Bio-Bibliography (also published by Greenwood Press, 1987). It wasn't difficult to notice that anyone wanting to do research in the area of Soviet and Eastern European film would have to do a lot of scrambling around to find the basic, necessary resources. Therefore, my goal was to fill this gap in cinema scholarship, and I believe this volume goes a long way towards doing so. With it, students and professional scholars should be able to quickly identify sources and films for studying major figures, genres, and eras in any of the countries included. in addition, the historical essays for each country provide some initial considerations on the significance of various figures and films. Finally, the historical chronology at the end of the volume provides a blending of the political and cultural developments important to film throughout the region.

Prior to 1986, only a few volumes provided comprehensive and focused discussions of Soviet and Eastern European film history. These included Antonín and Mira Liehm The Most Important Art: Eastern European Film After 1945 (1977), Michael Jon Stoil Cinema Beyond the Danube: the Camera and Its Politics (1974), and Politics, Art and Commitment in the East European Cinema, edited by David W. Paul (1983). in 1989, Post New Wave Cinema in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, edited by Daniel J. Goulding, was added to this brief list. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of the writers in this volume have continued to use those works.

However, even aside from the dramatic changes in the political and economic structures of these formerly Communist countries that occurred during 1989- 1990, a continual updating of developments in their film industries would be necessary. For the truth is that the film artists of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have a long, rich history of quality productions. Even under the oppressive political and cultural policies of Josef Stalin, these nations were producing far more accomplished works than were ever given appropriate recognition in the West. Unfortunately, even this book can give such acknowledgment to only a . . .

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