They don’t make propaganda like they used to

We really need to recover the good, positive sense of propaganda. Trashy commercial advertising simply shows that capitalists really have no idea. Take this piece celebrating Stalin’s return to the USSR after the fall of Berlin, when the Russians won the Second World War.

Gotta love Stalin’s coiffure and creaking boots. And stay with it, since the best bit is towards the end.

(ht ra)


14 thoughts on “They don’t make propaganda like they used to

  1. Comrade, I think part of the problem is that many a promising young filmmaker is seduced into the decadent and perverse world of cinema and television. When we eradicate the latter and reform the former into its Godly form, that of the 6 minute propaganda newsreel, then they will indeed make propaganda like they used to. I am particularly keen to see what Terrance Malick does with the recent stunning results for the Communist League of New Zealand.

  2. You can see the whole movie (Padeniye Berlina or The Fall of Berlin) on Youtube; here is the first part

    it is quite a good film, with a rousing score by Shostakovich. Great photography with Agfacolor stock taken from the Germans as war reparations. There is even great humor: for instance, the actors playing Hitler and Goering are a hoot. This was by the way the first film about the battle of Berlin.

  3. Actually, Sergey put me onto this new work by Katerina Clark (author of The Soviet Novel):

    Moscow, the Fourth Rome
    Harvard University Press, 2011

    In the early sixteenth century, the monk Filofei proclaimed Moscow the “Third Rome.” By the 1930s, intellectuals and artists all over the world thought of Moscow as a mecca of secular enlightenment. In Moscow, the Fourth Rome, Katerina Clark shows how Soviet officials and intellectuals, in seeking to capture the imagination of leftist and anti-fascist intellectuals throughout the world, sought to establish their capital as the cosmopolitan center of a post-Christian confederation and to rebuild it to become a beacon for the rest of the world.

    Clark provides an interpretative cultural history of the city during the crucial 1930s, the decade of the Great Purge. She draws on the work of intellectuals such as Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei Tretiakov, Mikhail Koltsov, and Ilya Ehrenburg to shed light on the singular Zeitgeist of that most Stalinist of periods. In her account, the decade emerges as an important moment in the prehistory of key concepts in literary and cultural studies today—transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and world literature. By bringing to light neglected antecedents, she provides a new polemical and political context for understanding canonical works of writers such as Brecht, Benjamin, Lukacs, and Bakhtin.

    Moscow, the Fourth Rome breaches the intellectual iron curtain that has circumscribed cultural histories of Stalinist Russia, by broadening the framework to include considerable interaction with Western intellectuals and trends. Its integration of the understudied international dimension into the interpretation of Soviet culture remedies misunderstandings of the world-historical significance of Moscow under Stalin.

  4. And let’s not forget the children (they are, after all, the future):

    It’s only fair, after all, given the likes of the CIA-funded animated Animal Farm. And of course it continues–apparently Toy Story 3, and I think also Happy Feet 2, are likewise anticommunist propaganda, more than just the usual procapitalist propaganda for kids.

  5. From Battleship Potemkin, The End of St Petersburg and The Man with the Movie Camera to this.

    Pretty much sums up the difference between Bolshevism and Stalinism from a cinematic point of view.

    But the top one is not the “Fall of Berlin” but “The Vow” again by the same director, Mikhail Chiaureli. It includes perhaps the most famous scene of Stalin-the-God type of cinema. We are at the Red Square, and Stalin together with Bukharin observe a driver desperately trying to get the engine of a Soviet tractor, just out of the factory, started. Bukharin notes with a diabolical grin that American tractors are of better quality, but then Stalin gets on the driver’s seat, does some magic (of hysterical materialism, as E.P. Thompson used to say) and the engine starts. Stalin then drives the tractor and in the background of the image we see a neverending mass of soviet tractors following the great leader, who besides everything else, excelled also, it seems, in tractor-engine repairing.

    So you have Marxist cinema like that of the titans of the Soviet twenties or like that of Gillo Pontecorvo for instance, and then you have this…

    1. For some reason I have a soft spot for the Satlin-era stuff, especially in light of the whole veneration/personality-cult thing, but then that is the last chapter of my Lenin and Theology book. It’s probably happened somewhere already, but I reckon a Stalin film festival is the way to go.

  6. Apparently ‘The Fall of Berlin’ was under the direction of Stalin himself, who not only chose the actors but also suggested the entire course of filming. Of course, the film was a shoe-in for the Stalin Prize, first degree in 1950.

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