Russia Cinema Russian Cinema

Russian Cinema

Ever since it took its very first steps over a hundred years ago, Russian cinematography has been an original and exciting phenomenon in the history of movie making. Russian cinema constitutes one of the most exciting chapters in the history of the world film industry. Emerging at the turn of the century, Russian cinematography immediately became a witness to radical political, social and economic change. Despite its relative youth, the Russian movie industry business quickly established itself as the most popular and mass form of art from the 1910s onwards.

The Russian film industry developed on the background of global catastrophes, revolution and the establishment of a new ideology. The formation of its artistic stylistics was defined both by the international tendencies typical of this new form of art and by specific national features.

In the very first years of its existence, a number of distinctive genres emerged in Russian cinematography – historical dramas, film adaptations, melodramas and comedies. Musicals won great popularity following the appearance of sound. In the war and post-war years, the main role belonged to films describing the events of the Second World War. The 1940s also saw a growing number of children’s movies, with fairytales enjoying a special popularity.

Later, in the late 1960s and 1970s, Russian directors preferred adventure movies, detective stories and science fiction. This period saw an erasure of the stylistic boundaries and a growing complication of the genre canvas. Almost all Russian films had a complex “genetic background” – historical drama, lyrical comedy, cinema story, romantic melodrama, comical musical “Western” or “Ostern.” The twenty-first century brought the fantasy genre into Russian cinematography.

Despite this great diversity of genres, the leading Russian movies all have certain common features, allowing one to speak of a specific Russian film school. This is a high culture of directing and camera work, musicality, plastic expressiveness, striking imagery, a strong literary basis and, of course, brilliant acting.

Throughout the twentieth century, these films have delighted millions of viewers. They have educated, inspired, entertained, comforted and inspired the finest thoughts in people. Many of the heroes have become an inalienable part of our own lives, while the catchphrases of the main stars are now popular sayings. Each director has his or her own genre preferences, and each film has its own fate. Some films have won well-deserved national recognition. Others were savaged by the critics, while at the same time enjoying the adoration of the public. Whatever the case, it is now hard to imagine growing up without the fairytales of Alexander Rou or life without the comedies of Leonid Gaidai and Eldar Ryazanov.

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