Soviet Cinema: Politics and Persuasion under Stalin (KINO: The Russian Cinema Series)

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9781848850095: Soviet Cinema: Politics and Persuasion under Stalin (KINO: The Russian Cinema Series)
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When the Bolsheviks seized power in the Soviet Union during 1917, they were suffering from a substantial political legitimacy deficit. Uneasy political foundations meant that cinema became a key part of the strategy to protect the existence of the USSR. Based on extensive archival research, this welcome book examines the interaction between politics and the Soviet cinema industry during the period between Stalin's rise to power and the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. It reveals that film had a central function during those years as an important means of convincing the masses that the regime was legitimate and a bearer of historical truth. Miller analyses key films, from the classic musical "Circus" to the political epic "The Great Citizen", and examines the Bolsheviks', ultimately failed, attempts to develop a 'cinema for the millions'. As Denise Youngblood writes, 'this work is indispensable reading not only for specialists in Soviet film and culture, but also for anyone interested in the dynamics of cultural production in an authoritarian society'.

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Review:

'Superbly researched and well-written, this fascinating book is the first full-length political history of Soviet cinema during a tumultuous period, the 'long thirties', 1929-1941.' --Denise Youngblood

'Invaluable for the quality of the information that Miller has gleaned from the film archives in Russia' --Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

'Soviet Cinema fills in many of the gaps left in many of the more general accounts of Soviet cinema in the 1930s, constructing a detailed picture of the chaos and mismanagement that plagued the Stalinist film industry. This study is a necessary resource for anyone working on the 1930s, and I highly recommend it for its profound engagement with Soviet history.' --Lilya Kaganovsky, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

'Until now, however, there has been no comprehensive history of the institutions and administration of Soviet cinema in English. Jamie Miller s book, Soviet Cinema: Politics and Persuasion Under Stalin fills that gap. Part of I. B. Tauris s excellent KINO series of monographs on Russian cinema, this is a study of the administration of the Soviet film industry from 1928 to 1941. It takes on the formidable task of showing us how that industry actually worked...The value of the book lies its careful work with the sources, its refusal to generalize, and its attention to neglected areas...As a history of institutions, this is a strong and much needed work. It will be an indispensable resource for scholars of Soviet film of this period.' --Emma Widdis, Journal of European Studies

'Soviet Cinema fills in many of the gaps left in many of the more general accounts of Soviet cinema in the 1930s, constructing a detailed picture of the chaos and mismanagement that plagued the Stalinist film industry. This study is a necessary resource for anyone working on the 1930s, and I highly recommend it for its profound engagement with Soviet history.' --Lilya Kaganovsky, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

About the Author:

Jamie Miller is Lecturer in Russian at Queen Mary, University of London.

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