A Hundred Light Years Away

The programmers of the Focus Centennial of the Russian Revolution present the section, which reflects a historically essential kind of cinema, following the screening of Kharms, by Ivan Bolotnikov. With Eduardo Grüner. Moderated by Pastora Campos & Ernesto Flomenbaum.
 
The October Revolution (or November, according to the Gregorian calendar) was a historical milestone that pierced through the entire 20th century and allowed for the artistic vanguards to develop their potential, even under unfavorable circumstances. This way, visual arts, architecture, literature, theater, music and, of course, film ("the most important of all arts,” according to Lenin himself) enabled the development of the new concepts that intended to leave behind the practices and social reaches of Bourgeoise art.

 

 


Vanguards, especially those developed in the U.S.S.R., distanced themselves from the aestheticist concept of “art for art’s sake,” left behind the realist tradition, assumed a social commitment and strengthened themselves with the triumph of the Revolution by embracing the ideology that aimed to construct a new society and a new man. The artists took up an attitude of constant experimentation. In the abstraction of forms, they sought to reflect modern life. They formed collectives, wrote manifestos and generated intense controversies among themselves.

In the ‘30s, with the consolidation of Stalinism, and the so-called “socialist realism” ruling official art, artistic creativity would start to asphyxiate. It condemned formalism in every art form and subordinated artistic production to the dictates and the exaltation of both the Leader and the growing Soviet bureaucracy, repressing all those who didn’t comply with it.
 

This obstacle for the development of avant-garde movements was not only confined to the USSR, it also extended towards the rest of the European Continent, where different fascist regimes ascended (Italy, Germany, Spain) stimulaing an official neoclassical and conservative art. Two historical projects spoilt, in short, ruined by the forces of reaction, which fundamental basis prevail, though.

 

Pastora Campos
Ernesto Flomenbaum
 
Screening
Today, Thu 23, 5:55 pm AMB4
 

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