Dziga Vertov launched a weekly newsreel in 1922 urging new experiments in film technique, and Lev Kuleshov opened a cinema workshop to explore the psychological effects of film images. The result was the emergence of the Soviet epic films of the period 1925 to 1930. Encouraged by Lenin's belief that the film was of primary importance in the development of Soviet society, V. I. Pudovkin, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, and especially Sergei Eisenstein made films based on Russian history. Their superbly photographed, intensely dramatic films are classics of cinematic art.
The Soviet film industry was prolific but aesthetics were usurped by ideological heavy-handedness. Various thaws, however, produced intriguing works, including those by Sergei Paradjanov ( The Color of Pomegranites ) and Andrei Tarkovsky ( Andrei Rublev ). The breakdown of the Communist system has left the industry (now scattered among several newly independent nations) in an uncertain state.
See S. M. Eisenstein, Film Form and Film Sense (tr. 1949, repr. separately 1969) and Notes of a Film Director (rev. ed. tr. 1970); J. Leyda, Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Film (1960, repr. 1983); T. J. Slater, ed., Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers (1992).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.