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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Russian cinema

A Lumière cameraman filmed the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896; and by 1903 permanent cinemas had opened in Moscow and St Petersburg. The first Russian-made film is generally agreed to be Sten’ka Razin, directed by Vladimir Romashkov in 1908. In this period, cinema was heavily influenced by the European Film d’Art (see france, film in), with Russian film company A. Khanzhonkov & Co producing popular adaptations of Russian literary classics and tableaux of famous Russian paintings. Director Yevgeni Bauer was critically acclaimed for his sophisticated use of literary symbolism and elaborate set design, and Vera Kholodnaya and Ivan Mozzhukhin were successful film stars. The work of animator Wladyslaw Starewicz is considered an important point of origin for a distinctive Eastern European animation tradition. Restrictions on imports during World War I brought about a golden age, with melodrama proving the most popular genre. The films of director Pyotr Chardynin, including Molchi, grust… molchi/Be Silent, Sorrow… Be Silent (1918), were among the star-driven box-office successes of the period. Revolution in 1917 led to the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), constituted from a diverse range of regions, principalities, and individual nation states. Film studios were built in Ukraine, the Baltic States, the Caucasus, and Central Asia (see soviet republics, film in the); but for the next seventy years and more, Russian cinema was officially eclipsed by that of the wider Soviet Union (see socialist realism; soviet avant garde; ussr, film in the).  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Russia, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 May. 2021

In the Library's Collection

There are several subject headings you can use to find resources in the online catalog. The call number ranges are also included. Please note: there are other sections of materials elsewhere.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

Finding journal articles

Articles and other writings about Soviet or Russian film can be found in many publications. Our collection includes several journals which look exclusively at Russian or Soviet film. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page. Below are some of the titles we have in our Library's collection.

Selected movie titles

Find more Russian language films in the library's online catalog.