The 1920s was the first decade of Soviet cinema, and the events of the Russian Revolution are explored in works such as Eisenstein's October and Strike.
This was a time of incredible optimism and belief in progress in the Soviet Union, and saw one of the first films made about Space Travel, the visually extraordinary Aelita: Queen of Mars. The sets for this movie were made by Construcivist set-designer Isaac Rabinovich, while the costume were designed by the "Cubo-Futurist" Aleksandra Ekster.
- The 1930s & Socialist Realism
Early in the 1930s, after the rise of Stalin, the optimistic, modernist style of Aelita fell out of favor. The official artistic method of the Soviet Union became "Socialist Realism". Cinematically, this style can be seen in Mark Donskoy's trilogy of films based on the life of Maxim Gorky
But there were dissenting voices. Films like the black comedy "Happiness
" (later celebrated by Chris Marker in his documentary "The Last Bolshevik
") satirised the introduction of "Collectivisation", the policy by which land was taken away from the peasants to be owned collectively by the state.
Soviet Cinema was always partly a tool of propaganda, and as time went by it began to attempt to compete with the glamor and fantasy of Hollywood. Musicals and Fairytales began to be central to Russian movies, and one successful example of this approach is Morozko
, or Father Frost, a film which Steven Spielberg later claimed was the precursor to many succesful children's films in Hollywood.
- The Republics of the USSR
Russia was only one of the countries that comprised the USSR, and some of the best Soviet Filmmaking came from the other Soviet Republics. One central figure in this regard is Sergei Parajanov, whose films like "The Color of Pomegranates" and "The Legend of Suram Fortress
" invented a whole new cinematic language.