Scientific Information Agency
18 March 2020

Leaders of Soviet Film Distribution (1930–1991): Trends and Patterns

Media Education
Leaders of Soviet Film Distribution (1930–1991): Trends and Patterns

The author of the article analyzed 300 Soviet films, which gained the largest number of viewers in the first year of the demonstration in cinemas. It turned out that entertainment genres (comedy, detective, melodrama, etc.) dominate among them. The percentage of entertainment films is the highest in the top ten (90 %), but it also prevails in the first thirty (73.3 %) and in general among the most box office three hundred Soviet films (62.0 %). At the same time, the number of popular non—entertainment films among the 300 most box office films in the USSR, which used to be quite significant in the 1960s (33 films), decreased steadily thereafter, reaching a minimum in the 1980s (8 films). The analysis also showed that only ten Soviet directors managed to make between four and nine films that were among the 300 most box office films in the USSR. Here too, the dominance of entertainment genres is evident (75 %). In fact, only all four of Sergei Gerasimov's most popular films were made outside the entertainment film industry. Entertainment genres dominate the work of Soviet directors, whose list of the most popular films in the USSR includes two or three films. A similar trend in the popularity of entertainment film can be seen in the lists of the most popular films of the Soviet Union's republics: (75 % of production falls within the entertainment sphere). With regard to the gender aspect, it turned out that the list of the 300 most box office films of Soviet cinema of the 1930s—1980s included only 12 films (4 %) made by female directors, while the first 50 most box office films of the USSR made between the 1930s and 1980s included films made only by male directors. At the same time, among the 12 most box office films produced by women directors, entertainment films (75 %) naturally dominate again. It should be noted here that among the most popular Soviet television films, entertainment genres almost always dominate. Thus, despite all the efforts made to introduce communist ideology and active state support for «ideologically mature» cinema, the general public generally followed the world's laws: entertainment films of entertainment genres (though in many cases of high professional quality) consistently came out on top of the audience preferences.

Source: Fedorov A. (2020) Leaders of Soviet Film Distribution (1930–1991): Trends and Patterns. Media Education (Mediaobrazovanie). 60(1): 24-62

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