film -- notably in the work of Gardin ( The Poet and the Tsar), Chardynin ( Behind the Monastery Wall), and Konstantin Eggert ( The Bear's Wedding (Medviezhya svadba), 1926). But by the end of the decade articles began to appear in the critical literature which censured both the innovators ('left-wing deviation') and the traditionalists ('right-wing deviation'). In the spring of 1928 an All Union Party conference on the cinema was called and the demand for 'a form which the millions can understand' was put forward as the main aesthetic criterion in evaluating a film. But the rejection of the commercial cinema, which furthermore was largely being created by film-makers of the old school, bore witness to the fact that more than formal questions were at stake. 'Purges' began in the cinema, and the images of the White Guard, the kulak, the spy, or the White émigré wrecker who had insinuated himself into Soviet Russia began to crop up in films with increasing frequency. Films like Protazanov's Yego prizyv ('His call', 1925), Zhelyabuzhsky's No Entry to the City, Johanson's Na dalyokom beregu ('On the far shore', 1927), and G. Stabova's Lesnoi cheloviek ('Forest man', 1928) bear disturbing witness to this new trend. The increasingly powerful role of RAPP in literature began to create a situation of ideological pressure of which the cinema too became a target.
Besides the change in the political climate, the arrival of sound played a significant part in the sequence of epochs in Soviet cinema. Already in 1928-9, before the new invention had been introduced in the Soviet cinema, Soviet film-makers began to discuss its likely implication. In 1928 Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and Alexandrov put forward the concept of audio-visual counterpoint in a statement
'The Future of the Sound Film'. The engineers Shorin (Leningrad) and Tager ( Moscow) were working at that time to create a sound-recording system for Soviet film studios. The introduction of sound into the cinema becomes in a certain sense state policy. Pudovkin's film Prostoi sluchai ('A simple case'), also known as Ochen'khorosho zhivyotsya ('Life is very good', 1932), and Kozintsev and Trauberg's Odna ('Alone', 1931), conceived as silent, were on orders from above 'adapted for sound', as a result of which they reached the screen after a one- to two-year delay. Probably those in charge saw in the talking picture one of the ways of bringing the cinema to the masses which the 1928 conference had urged. And although for several more years, because of the absence of sound projectors in country areas, silent films continued to be made alongside talkies (notably Mikhail Romm's Boule de suif and Alex ander Medvedkin 's Happiness (Shchastie), both of 1934), one can say that the silent film as an art form reached its zenith in Soviet cinema by 1929, in which year it ceased to progress, yielding place to its successor.
Christie, Ian, and Taylor, Richard (eds.) ( 1988), The Film Factory.
Leyda, Jay ( 1960), Kino: A History of Russian and Soviet Film.
Piotrovsky, Adrian ( 1969), Teatr, Kino, Zhizn ('Theatre, cinema, life').
Istoriya sovietskogo kino v chetyryokh tomakh ('A history of the Soviet cinema in 4 volumes'), Vol. i: 1917-1931.
Lebedev, Nikolai ( 1965), Ocherk istorii kino SSSR. Nemoe kino (1918- 1934) ('An outline history of cinema in the USSR. Silent cinema').
Margolit, Yevgeny ( 1988), Sovietskoie kinoiskusstvo ('Soviet film art'). Moscow, 1988.
MAREK AND MALGORZATA HENDRYKOWSKI
No panorama of early European cinema can be complete without mention of the unique phenomenon of the transnational Yiddish cinema, which flourished in eastern and central Europe throughout the silent period and into the 1930s. This Yiddish cinema derived from the extra-territorial tradition of European Jewish culture and literature rooted in the Yiddish language. Yiddish is a language of exceptional expressiveness, highly developed idiom, and rich vocabulary, which by the turn of the century had become the mother tongue of over 10 million Jews, living mostly in central and eastern Europe but also as part of the Jewish diaspora in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere in the New World.
Throughout eastern and central Europe Yiddish had a full-fledged literature, comparable with other European national literatures. Alongside élite works aspiring to the rank of canonical literature, more popular prose was also printed in instalments in cheap pamphlet form. Leading representatives of Yiddish literature at the turn of the century include Avrom Goldfadn, father of the Jewish theatre, Yankev Gordin, An-ski (Shloyme Zaynvil Rapoport), Yitskhok Leyb Perets, Sholem Ash, Yoysef Opatoshu (Yoysef Meyer Opatovski), and Sholem Aleykhem (Sholem Rabinowicz), and it was often to the works of