Over many decades the Soviet Union was internationally rather isolated. Yet even in the years immediately after the revolution and during the harshest Cold War confrontations did Soviet cinema leave its mark on the international, cultural sphere, producing radical, ground-breaking movies free from commercial concerns. This course will charter the double function of several significant Soviet films of talking both to their domestic audiences as well as the international world, which often chose to endow them with their own causes and meanings. Battleship Potemkin, Man with a Movie Camera, Circus, The Fall of Berlin, I am Twenty, The Cranes are Flying, Moscow does not Believe in Tears, The Commissar and Little Vera were all films that reflected Soviet life as well as indicating current ideology and concerns. Other phenomena such as animation films often took foreign tales (e.g. Winne Pooh) and made them Soviet. Watching and discussing Soviet cinema we will explore both the history of the Soviet Union as represented on screen and assess how its films connected (or disconnected) the Soviet Union from contexts both in the Western world as well as the global south.

Semester: WiSe 2021/22