Soviet Art House: Lenfilm Studio Under Brezhnev

Soviet Art House: Lenfilm Studio Under Brezhnev

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Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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Binding: Hardcover
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Its unique ability to sway the masses has led many observers to consider cinema the artform with the greatest political force. The images it produces can bolster leaders or contribute to their undoing. Soviet filmmakers often had to face great obstacles as they struggled to make art in an authoritarian society that put them not only under ideological pressure but also imposed rigid economic constraints on the industry. But while the Brezhnev era of Soviet filmmaking is often depicted as a period of great repression, Soviet Art House reveals that the films made at the prestigious Lenfilm studio in this period were far more imaginative than is usually suspected.

In this pioneering study of a Soviet film studio, author Catriona Kelly delves into previously unpublished archival documents and interviews, memoirs, and the films themselves to illuminate the ideological, economic, and aesthetic dimensions of filmmaking in the Brezhnev era. She argues that especially the young filmmakers who joined the studio after its restructuring in 1961 revitalized its output and helped establish Leningrad as a leading center of oppositional art. This unique insight into Soviet film production shows not only the inner workings of Soviet institutions before the system collapsed but also traces how filmmakers tirelessly dodged and negotiated contradictory demands to create sophisticated and highly original movies.