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February 1, 2020

During this period, notable divergences in practices and discourses emerged. Asymptomatic example is that of Orca (Michael Anderson, United States, 1977), inspired by the Teeth of the Sea. Released on Soviet screens in 1981 under the highly inspired title Death among the icebergs, it managed to attract 33 million spectators during its operation. Even more astonishing, the official bulletin of Goskino, Novye Filmy (New films), does not hesitate to use the expression “horror film” to advertise it. The film’s central theme, the Soviet title and the publicity given to it are in flagrant contradiction with the official speeches mentioned above. In movies123   you need to be specific on the choice of the films.

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The Contradictions

These contradictions, in fact, do not fail to translate into internal conflicts, of which an example will be cited. Culminating in early 1983, the dispute was between Mikhail Nenachev, editor of the periodical Sovetskaya Rossia (Soviet Russia), and the director of Goskino, Filipp Ermac. The first accuses the second of betraying the communist cause by importing films containing violence and sex. Ermach replies with a letter to the head of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Boris Stoukaline. For him, these films are only the denunciation of the reality which prevails in the West. The debate continues until March 15, when Nenachev puts forward the contradictory policy of the Party: the Godfather is forbidden (the Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, United States, 1972), but we authorize Diva (Jean-Jacques Beinex, France, 1981) which nevertheless contains several explicit scenes of violence and eroticism. Supreme Arbitrator does not decide, but calls for “mutual respect”: it is clear that the Party line seeks to position itself at the center, using the arguments of both in its arsenal.

  • This conflict seems to us to reflect the fluctuations of the ideological line of the years 1982-1984. If the conflicts relating to the “commercial” aspects are old, the fact remains that the 1980s, and more precisely the period which followed Brezhnev’s death (November 1982) saw the crossing of a new course: cinema is called upon to participate actively in the revival of Soviet propaganda, to oppose the psychological aggression hatched by the Reagan administration.

If Stoukaline takes care to position himself on the side of the conservatives, it is because he is part of the new team put in place by Brezhnev’s successor, Andropov. The latter is determined to restart the Soviet propaganda machine, to re-inject it with energy that it has long lost. In June 1983, the Secretary-General convenes a Plenum specially devoted to propaganda questions (when the country suffers from a general shortage and economists call for a drastic reform of the system), following which several Party decrees detail the measures to take, especially for cinema. Forced to fulfill this plan, the film industry is desperately looking for new material, more likely to attract spectators less and less receptive to ideological sirens. Basically, we probably say in the corridors of the Goskino, all means (or almost) are good for carrying out Andropov’s project. All, including the use of subjects belonging to prohibited genres, such as the horror film.

Canana Films

This comedy directed by Carlos Cuarón was released in 2008. The protagonists are two brothers: Beto, who dreams of becoming a footballer, and Toto, who would like to be a recognized singer. Both compete to realize their dream, and thus improve the terrible economic situation they are going through.

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