Stanislavsky's method used on stage. This acting technique soon evolved into a specific melancholy mood that is particularly pervasive in Yevgeny Bauer's films shot for the Khanzhonkov Company.
The First World War, which closed so many borders to film imports, was the golden age of the Russian film industry. Never before or since have Russian productions so dominated the Russian film market. During 1914-16 an introverted, slow manner was consciously cultivated. by Russian directors and formulated by the trade press as a national aesthetic credo. The style was crystallized at Yermoliev's studio, which developed typical characters -- the femme fatale, the victimized woman, the neurotic man -- and a typical mise-en-scène -- the motionless tableau with each character deep in thought. The tableau image became more important than the development of the plot.
'Psychological' mannerisms and slow action became obsolete in the radical change Russian film-making style was to undergo after 1917. In tune with the more general process of cultural reorientation taking place in Soviet Russia, the notion of a well-made plot (syuzhet) and rapid narrative became important in literature and film. The age of Lev Kuleshov with his accelerated editing and obsessive action was heralded by Engineer Prait's Project ( 1918) -- a film reflecting not so much changes in Russian society as filmmakers' reaction to the past decade of film production.
The best years of private production in Russia ( 1914-19) were marked by the increasing role of film fandom. Initially promoted as local counterparts of foreign stars ('our Psilander' Vladimir Maximov, or Vera Kholodnaya as 'Bertini of the North'), Russian names were soon found to be winning over the public. This led to fresh strategies in studio competition: some new studios emerged (like Kharitonov's) built entirely around enticing stars with established reputations. Alongside the trade journals, fan magazines started to appear. One titled Pegas, financed by Khanzhonkov and shaped like the 'thick' literary magazines, regularly offered aesthetic discussions of cinema as art and the contribution of individual film-makers. Thus the concept of a 'film director' with his or her individual career was formed. Pyotr Chardynin had the reputation of an 'actor's director'; after quitting Khanzhonkov's company for Kharitonov's in 1916 (with several major actors joining him), Chardynin directed an all-star boxoffice hit The Tale of my Dearest Love ( 1918), which saw a number of successful rereleases well into the Soviet era. Yakov Protazanov was acclaimed for The Queen of Spades ( 1916), whose elaborate costumes and set design imitated Alexander Benois's drawings; his reputation as 'high art director' was confirmed by the success of Father Sergius ( 1918). Though less known among the general public, the 'wizard' of animated insects Ladislas Starewitch was the film-maker most in demand by the studios. However, among Russian directors he was the only one who managed to preserve partial independence; he had a small studio of his own and a free hand in his choice of subjects. In the eyes of their Soviet successors their pre-revolutionary reputations turned directors into 'bourgeois specialists' (spetsy). With the notable exception of the protean Protazanov, not one of them was able to make a comparable career in the new Russia.
Ginzburg, Semion ( 1963), Kinematografiya dorevolyutsionnoy Rossii ('The cinema of pre-revolutionary Russia').
Hansen, Miriam ( 1992), "Deadly Scenarios: Narrative Perspective and Sexual Politics in Pre-revolutionary Russian Film".
Leyda, Jay ( 1960), Kino: A History of Russian and Soviet Film.
Likhachev, Boris ( 1926), Kino v Rossii.
Cherchi Paolo Usai, Codelli, Lorenzo, Montanaro, Carlo, and Rob David inson (eds.) ( 1989), Silent Witnesses: Russian Films, 1908- 1919.
Tsivian, Yuri ( 1989), "Some Preparatory Remarks on Russian Cinema".
The Soviet cinema was officially born on 27 August 1919, when Lenin signed the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR Decree 'On the transfer of the photographic trade and industry to Narkompros [The People's Commissariat of Education]', nationalizing private film and photographic enterprises. But the struggle for power in film had already begun in 1917, when film workers banded together in three professional organizations: the OKO (a federation of distributors, exhibitors, and producers); the Union of Workers in Cinematographic Art (creative workers -- the 'film aristocracy'); and the Union of FilmTheatre Workers (the grass roots or proletariat, largely projectionists). The last of these, asserting workers' control over cinemas and film enterprises, soon came to determine the line taken by the Moscow and Petrograd