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Cinema of Russia

While Russia was involved in filmmaking as early as most of the other nations in the West, it only came into prominence during the 1920s when it explored editing as the primary mode of cinematic expression. Because of the depletion of resources due to World War I, Russian film schools would take copies of David Wark Griffith's Intolerance and re-cut it as an exercise in creating meaning.

Initially, it was believed that film would be the ideal artform for communist Russia because of its populist potential and facility in propaganda; Lenin, in fact, declared it the most important medium. Dziga Vertov's newsreel series Kino-Pravda lasted from 1922 to 1925 and had a propagandistic bent; Vertov used the series to promote "Socialist realism" but also to experiment with cinema. Eisenstein's Battleship Potenmkin was released to wide acclaim in 1925; the film was heavily ficitionalized and also propagandistic, preaching the party line about the virtues of the proletariat. The party leaders soon found it difficult to control directors' expression, partly because definitive understanding of a film's meaning was elusive. Consequently, film in Russia waned in the 1930s.

In 2002, Aleksandr Sokurov filmed Russian Ark, the world's first unedited feature film: recorded in uncompressed high definition, shot in a single take and featuring the world's longest Steadicam shot. The film is 90 minutes long.

Early personalities in the development of the Russian cinema:

Later personalities: See also : Film history