The Red Screen: Politics, Society, Art in Soviet Cinema

By Anna Lawton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15

Scarecrow and Kindergarten: A Critical Analysis and Comparison

ALEXANDER GERSHKOVICH

The more an artist is worried by the problem of how his picture will be perceived by the public, what the critics will say, how the "authorities" will look on it, the greater the danger that the artist will deviate from the truth, and from his original conception, and the further he will be from the search for truth in art and from the sensitive questions of his time. And, as a result, the less will be the social impact of his film.

And vice versa. If an artist is guided by his inner convictions, by the interests of art itself-if, in the process of creation, he does not look back and worry about taking risks, does not deviate from his principles, does not think about what sort of impression he is making-everything within him will be in harmony, the moment of enlightenment or inspiration will come, and with it success.

Before his departure for the West, in the workers' auditorium of a Moscow factory, where the screening and discussion of Mirror was held, Andrei Tarkovsky was asked angrily: "For whom did you make this film?" The director answered sharply: "For myself. And for my friends." 1 The audience was indignant. People thought that they had caught the artist red-handed. It did not occur to them that the courageous director had revealed the secret of how real art is created and had hinted at how it should be viewed.

The utilitarian approach to art has a long tradition in Russia. According to it, art is only a secondary means in the struggle of ideas, especially in a country which lacks democratic freedoms.

The heightened social function of Russian art, which can be

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