Lev Kuleshov (02:51)
In 1916, Kuleshov was selected to paint the scenery for a movie in Moscow. He took over an acting role when the actor fell ill.
Vladimir Mayakovsky (04:21)
The revolution began in 1917, ending censorship. Mayakovsky was one of the leaders of the artistic revolution. He attempted to bring new ideas to the conservative film industry.
Defending Revolutionary Art (04:22)
Mayakovsky worked to establish a state program for film and a film school. Kuleshov attended the school before being sent to fight in the war. Kuleshov started a workshop when he returned to Moscow.
Kuleshov's First Film (03:28)
When the civil war ended, a state film studio was established with Kuleshov as one of its first directors. His first film was a comedy that showcased techniques he developed during the war. Numerous key members of Russia's revolutionary film scene appeared in the film.
Yakov Protazanov (02:15)
After spending years in exile, Protazanov returned to Russia and made a science fiction film. It was more traditional and commercial than Kuleshov's, but included socialist ideas.
Boris Barnet (04:03)
Many of the students from Kuleshov's workshop became important members of the film scene. Barnet used some of Kuleshov's techniques while rejecting others and making his own style.
Abram Room (03:21)
Room was a psychology student turned director, who work with the state-sponsored film studio. His first film took place in an average looking apartment and showed the realities of life in the Soviet Union. The film was banned because of its progressive portrayal of women.
Sergei Eisenstein (07:28)
Eisenstein became a successful stage director after attending Kuleshov's workshop. He was commissioned to make a film honoring the 20th anniversary of the 1905 revolution. The film "Battleship Potemkin" had little success in Russia but the genre of revolt and rebellion films was born.
Dziga Vertov (04:41)
Fictional stories were providing less successful and Vertov's documentary about the Communist Party performed better. Vertov disliked fiction and wanted to make nonfiction a more popular style of filmmaking. Protazanov's successful film "The Forty-First" had all the elements Vertov disliked.
Filmmaking under Stalin (07:51)
As Joseph Stalin and communism gained more control, state film studios hired new and different directors. Eisenstein and other prominent filmmakers left the Soviet Union. The head of the studio forced Kuleshov to conform to the party's ideas.
Eisenstein's Return to Russia (03:56)
Infighting between the new followers of Stalin and the old Bolsheviks halted progress at the state film studio. Eisenstein's film about a Bolshevik hero was banned and he was forced to agree to only make commissioned films.
New Era of Soviet Films (03:03)
Stalin wanted Soviet cinema to be about joy, and numerous musicals were made. It marked the end of revolutionary filmmaking in Russia.
Credits: The Russian Revolution Through Its Films (00:59)
Credits: The Russian Revolution Through Its Films
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