Uchebnoe kino: sbornik statei [Educational cinema: a collection of articles], no. 1-3 (1934); no. 1, 3-6, 8, 12 (1936).

Moscow: GUKF, 1933-1936. Quartos (25 × 17 cm). Original printed self-wrappers; 32-56 pp. per issue. With illustrations and photographs throughout. About very good. Item #5688

A fascinating record of Soviet uses of cinema for educational and scientific purposes, this specialized journal collected articles on all manner of education films, from propaganda to science films to filmed “technical manuals” aimed at a variety of audiences, from school children to factory workers, from university students to army cadets. Other topics include scientific uses of film, such as for filming gases and documenting other natural processes. The educational potential of cinema was hotly debated from cinema’s inception. As early as 1896, the slogan of the French Pathé film company proclaimed "the cinema will be the theatre, the newspaper and the school of the future." In post-Revolutionary Russia Lenin also saw the great educational potential of the cinema. His famous words to Lunacharsky, the future Minister of Education, that “of all the arts for us cinema is the most important” were qualified with Lenin’s insistence that Soviet film must maintain “a good ratio between educational films and entertainment films.” Experiments with newsreel cinematography, carried out by Dziga Vertov in 1918-1921 were the most pronounced early examples of using the cinema for educational and propagandistic ends in the Soviet Union.

The establishment of this journal in 1933 signaled a full-scale institutional commitment to developing educational film in the Soviet Union.

Aimed at “educational film” industry insiders as well as educators the articles discuss everything from issues of narrative construction in an educational film, to how titles, and later sound, aid the learning process. Other articles treat the problems of preparing script writers and directors for making educational films. Teachers are also instructed on how to work with educational film, from filmed geography lessons to films teaching the viewers how to drive or operate heavy machinery. Propaganda films are treated as a genre of educational films, with one article focused on the film about Aleksei Stakhanov, a miner and famous shock worker of the second five-year plan (1933-1937). The director of the film discusses the difficulties of making a film for a general audience about complex processes of mining and of presenting Stakhanov in the right light. Finally, a number of articles are dedicated to the uses of educational films abroad, where educational cinema was flourishing. The journal sheds light on a hereto largely overlooked area in the development of the Soviet film industry.

Not in KVK or OCLC.

Price: €550.00