The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Monday, August 23, 2004

east side story

well i went to this alleged hot-bed of stalinist celebration last night.

it was full of labour party people. not exactly died in the wool socialists.

basically the film was an interesting little piece of history - investigating the 40 film musicals made over 40 years behind the Iron Curtain. it was more about censorship than socialism - the film makers had huge problems in getting their films shown, as well as technical problems like not having decent equipment, and only being able to have their lighting going for seven or eight minutes at a time when filming, or they would short the power supply to the city hospital.

there was mention of Stalin - his intervention in getting the first musical comedy film in the USSR released, and then his support for the making of Volga Volga, which became his favourite film. and the murder of millions that he was responsible for was also referred to (in a very negative way). the analysis of the doco-makers was that the musicals were largely made during times of optimism in the East, when they were probably more necessary during the bad times, to give people a break from the relenting greyness of things.

the overall impression was that the people wanted some fun and entertainment, but the functionaries thought everything had to have a strong ideological component. the film ultimately asks the question, what might have happened if socialism had been more fun?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but how do you refer positively to the murder of millions of people?????

Neill

span said...

i was merely responding to criticism that the film would be a celebration of Stalin's time in power, and pointing out that it didn't gloss over his megalomania and widespread murdering ways. in fact the film made Stalin look like an inconsistent controlling clown, who was very dangerous.