A real curio just arrived on DVD which should pique the interest of animation buffs and those interested in 20th century propaganda:
Animated Soviet Propoganda
The New York Times wrote at length about the set this week:
A four-disc boxed set that includes both a two-hour documentary and six hours’ worth of short films, “Animated Soviet Propaganda” opens a window on a lost art from a lost world. Animation began in Russia under the czars, with the morbid wit of Ladislaw Starewicz’s stop-motion creations using the stiff little bodies of insects. (In “The Camerman’s Revenge” a grasshopper uses a movie camera to catch his unfaithful mate in flagrante delicto.) But after revolution and civil war, film acquired a new importance to the state.
With the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922, Lenin proclaimed the cinema the most important of all the arts, presumably for its ability to communicate directly with the oppressed and widely illiterate masses; in that same year Stalin was named general secretary of the central committee and the Soviet censorship office was established — two developments that did not facilitate the free exchange of ideas.
Read the whole piece here.
Critic J Hoberman wrote about this on the Village Voice here.
A big chunk of part 1 is up on Google Video here >>
Rent or buy the set here >>
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