Former director of the Moscow Film Museum, historian and famous critic in Russia, Naum Kleiman on the fall of the USSR. Thirty years later, he looks back at the evolution of this major art during the Soviet period.

What do you remember about the fall of the USSR in 1991 and the impact on Soviet cinema?

 

NAUM KLEIMAN The collapse of the USSR was unexpected, although being a natural phenomenon, therefore, for citizens in general and for artists, it was a terrible shock. For no one was prepared for such a dramatic socio-political and cultural change. The euphoria caused by the lifting of censorship, or by the screening of films banned from distribution that were quickly replaced by conditions of commercial production, and the diktat of the market proved to be as harsh as the ideological diktat.

In addition, hasty and reckless reforms led to the fact that the entire network of state cinemas and the network of trade union cinemas (very important in the USSR) found themselves in the hands of speculators who either stopped broadcasting films and used cinemas as shops or warehouses, or began to show cheap imported action films.

cinema has lost its profitability. With the economic collapse, there was a complete disorientation in the realm of social and moral values. Positive ideals began to be cynically presented as an illusion, the relationship between the individual and society was considered mainly in its crisis aspect.

En fait, le pays a perdu a la fois son passé et son avenir. Une telle situation est propre a saper le moral de toute une société.

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