Animated Soviet Propaganda: From the October Revolution to Perestroika
There hardly is a time in world history more politically polarized than the 20th century, which divided the globe in two camps — capitalism and communism — divided at the height of the divergence by the infamous Iron Curtain. The Cold War was very much a war of ideologies and each side relied heavily on the ideological unity of its people, often employing the power of the visual arts — graphic design, animation, illustration — to drive its message home. From 1924 to perestroika the USSR produced 41 animated propaganda films. Their target was the new nation and their goal was to win over the hearts and minds of the Soviet people. Anti-American, Anti-British, Anti-German, Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Fascist, some of these films are as artistically beautiful as the great political posters made after the 1917 revolution which inspired Soviet animation. Unearthed from Moscow's legendary Soyuzmultfilm Studios, the 41 films in Animated Soviet Propaganda span sixty years of Soviet history.

4 x DVD | NTSC 4:3 | 8h 34min | 21.7 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Russian
Subtitles: English
Genre: Animation


The set is divided thematically into four parts, all dealing with different subjects of the Soviet propaganda machine.

American Imperialists contains seven films, almost all of which are drawn from the Cold War era. The recurring image is of the money hungry industrialist self-destructing because of his greed.

Fascist Barbarians is a 17 film reaction to the Nazi invasion of 1941. While Americans were mocked relentlessly, at least they remained human. After breaking the non-aggression pact and declaring war, the Nazis became animals in the propaganda films, turning into snarling warthogs and depraved vultures.

Capitalist Sharks contains six films that take on the bourgeoisie the world over - and sometimes beyond. In INTERPLANTERY REVOLUTION (1924), capitalists escaping to Mars discover the revolution has spread throughout the galaxy. This part is a 6-film assault on the bourgeoisie, weaving sci-fi narratives to envision dystopian scenarios for capitalists' world domination.

Onward to the Shining Future: Communism contains 11 works, most of which mythologize the state and and promise a utopian future of universal well-being. Dziga Vertov's SOVIET TOYS (1924), however, offers criticism of the state. Generally agreed to be the first Russian animated film, it satirizes the communist members who cashed in on Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP), which introduced a limited form of capitalist enterprise.

Containing 6 hours of rare material in all, this set offers a fascinating look at the history of Soviet propaganda. It is an invaluable resource that displays how one of the greatest and most reclusive powers wanted their people to envision the rest of the world, as well as being an idiosyncratic tour through Russia's rich and varied history of animated art. The films feature some astounding animation techniques from stop-motion to paper cutout animation to impressively intricate puppetry. Includes interviews with the directors and commentary by the leading Soviet film scholars.

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