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THE RUSSIAN STATE DOCUMENTARY FILM & PHOTO ARCHIVE
AT KRASNOGORSK - (RGAKFD)


Narrative Index

Film
(continued)

The overthrow of Romanov Dynasty in February 1917 completely changed the image of Russia.

The events of February Revolution of 1917 were filmed in detail, and show the atmosphere of that stormy time very well. Among them, sequences showing big political demonstrations, meetings, congresses, (such as The First All-Russian Congress of Soviets), military parades, members of State Duma, and the Provisional Government headed by A. Kerenskiy. Many film businessmen and cameramen did not acknowledge the October Revolution of 1917 and few filmed it - P. Novitskiy, I. Kobzev and G. Boltianskiy.

The Archive keeps about 200 separate films of the Civil War period (1918-1920). Such as: political meetings where Lenin and Trotsky spoke; military events on all Civil War fronts - Volga Region, Ukraine, Siberia, Petrograd, etc. These films were widely used in newsreel "The Film Week" (kept in the Archive). Many of them were lately used in historical documentaries. For example, the Archive possesses the long documentary "History of the Civil War" made in 1921 by the young filmmaker Dziga Vertov.

During 1920-30, many films showing important political events were made: Communist Party Congresses (since 1919), Congresses of Communist International (from 1919 to 1935), Communists demonstrations and parades. The total politicization of Soviet society can be seen in documentaries showing industrial and agricultural development which illustrated achievements of the new political society.

Documentaries on art and culture of 20-30s represent many famous people, such as Maxim Gorky, L. Sobinov, V. Meirkhold, B. Pasternak, the young D. Oistrakh and E. Gilels, D.Shostakovitch, S. Prokofiev, M. Sholokhov, Gerber Wells, Roman Rollan and others.

It was very popular during the 30s to advertise creations of Soviet Socialist system: achievements of Soviet aviation (films showing the flight of pilots V. Chkalov, G. Gaidukov and A.Beliakov from USSR to USA through the North Pole); car races (for example, film "Moscow - Cara-Cum - Moscow" by cameramen E. Tisse, R. Karmen, M. Gomorov, 1930); polar exhibitions (the most popular was film "Cheluskin" by J. Poselsky, 1934 about the rescuing of the ship "Cheluskin", crushed by Arctic ice.)

Very popular during Soviet time were newsreels which had interesting depictions of Soviet society. All together the Archive keeps more than 60 newsreels titles from 1919 to 1985, which came from different regions of the country. Among them: "SCJ" - Sous Cino Journal - mute [1925-1944] and sound [1931-1944], "News of the Day" [1944-1983]. There were special newsreels for kids - "Little Star" (1936-1938), "Young Pioneers" [1931-1985]; newsreels about Soviet Army (one of them - "Soviet Soldier" [1961-1985]; newsreels devoted to technical news ("Science and Technique" [1931-1935]), newsreels of different trade associations, such as "Soviet Village", (mute [1929-1938] and sound [1936-1938] or "Railway Man" [1936-1941].

Soviet cameramen also filmed the "hot spots of the world". By this method many well known documentaries were made: "Shanghai Document" (filmmaker J Bliokh. 1928); "Abyssinia" (1936). The Archive keeps the 20 newsreel series " The Spanish events". There is 40,000 meters of footage by R. Carmen and B. Makaseev showing the Civil War in Spain - battles, bombardment of Madrid, etc. The most impressive sequences were used in the full-length film "Spain" by E. Shub. (1939).

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