Eisenstein’s Bezhin Meadow (1937) | SOVIET CINEMATOGRAPHY

Eisenstein’s Bezhin Meadow (1937) | SOVIET CINEMATOGRAPHY

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Aside from the incredible amount of deaths during the Communist dictatorship in the Soviet Union, an often overlooked key aspect of Soviet policy was the war against religion, the persecution of Priests and Bishops, the closing, if not destroying of churches and the curricula in school emphasizing militant atheism. Indoctrinating the population and removing any unwanted religious affiliation meant that propaganda was used in a way the Nazi’s were starting to master around the same time.

This curiosity is exemplified in “Бежин луг”, or Bezhin Meadow, a Communist propaganda film that was produced between 1935 and 1937 by Sergei Eisenstein. The film is loosely based on a story that became famous in the Soviet Union in 1932, when Pavlik Morozov became a martyr at the age of 13, killed by his family for reporting his father, a Kulak, a wealthy farmer, to the authorities. The film was supposed to be a tale about morality, where the protagonist, Stepok, had done the right thing by prioritizing state interests over those of family. What makes this film interesting is that the project was never finished and never released. It was later discovered the film was rich in iconography with an underlying religious theme.

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Video Sources:

Sergei Eisenstein – Бежин луг (the film reels discovered after World War 2)

for Soviet propaganda and archive footage.