Soviet Mainstream Cinematography: the Silent Era, by Philip Cavendish ISBN978-0-9557439-1-7; RRP £19.50 + pp
The post-revolutionary silent era was a period when the Russian film industry faced the challenge of creating a distinctive Soviet film industry that could compete effectively with the European and American imports. This book is an enquiry into the visual style of mainstream films of the Soviet silent era and its influences. In his survey of cinematographic practice from 1918 to 1936, Philip Cavendish draws attention to the creative spirit of the cameraman, looking at methods of collaboration between directors and camera operators who were often of differing cultural outlook. He relates the study of film to parallel trends in still photography and painting and traces the continuing impact of pre-revolutionary cinematic norms on the production process. A timely contribution to cinema scholarship, this research offers a new perspective on supposedly 'progressive' and reactionary aesthetic preferences, and calls into question the assumed division between the avante-garde and mainstream in Soviet film.
Philip Cavendish is Senior Lecturer in Russian Literature and Film Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London
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