Russian cinema draws from a unique well. The first official film produced in Russia, Stenka Razin (1908), was based on a well known figure in folklore. From these beginnings, Russian and Soviet Russian cinema has continued to be deeply informed by the nation’s rich culture. This has taken many forms, such as the electrifying experimental scape of early Soviet cinema, with filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein revolutionising visual storytelling.
The 1930s and 1940s, up until Stalin’s death in 1953, saw the rise of Socialist Realism, a restrictive but interesting style which eventually fell into the melancholic comedies and lyricism of the Thaw period and emergence of cinematic legend Andrei Tarkovsky.
Perestroika precipitated an unfortunate downturn for the Russian film industry, but having recovered from the economic shocks of the 1990s and 2000s, Russian cinema has returned to its former glory with Andrei Zvyagintsev and Kirill Serebrennikov providing diverse and urgent voices.