From the earliest days of the Soviet state, Lenin recognized the power of cinema’s images to polemicize for a populace comprised largely of peasants and the functionally illiterate. This far-reaching collection spans the earliest days of the state in the 1920s until the beginning of the end in the early 80s.
Separated into four discs with appropriately exclamatory titles — American Imperialists, Fascist Barbarians, Capitalist Sharks and Onward to the Shining Future: Communism — the collection features the widest possible range of styles to express the narrowest of ideas. Least interesting is perhaps Barbarians, confining itself largely to the struggle against the Nazi invasion, and as such features the dozens of metaphorical ways to skin a cat (the cat being in this case of course Hitler). The depth of the indictment against American decadence is far more impressive (and let’s face it, convincing.) Its j’accuse covers segregation, economic disparity and American imperalist aggression in Vietnam, the latter rendered with savage poetry. Shooting Range (1978) is a psychedelic masterpiece. The other discs are mostly predictable odes to Mother Russia, which remain stilted politically, but achieve a sublime beauty artistically.
Brief overview doc and contextualizing booklet.
An indispensable articulation of Cold War political fault lines.