Monday, February 13, 2012

Günter Agde and Alexander Schwarz: Die rote Traumfabrik: Meschrabpom-Film und Prometheus 1921-1936 [The Red Dream Factory: Mezhrabpom-Film and Prometheus 1921-1936] (a book)

Günter Agde and Alexander Schwarz: Die rote Traumfabrik: Meschrabpom-Film und Prometheus 1921-1936 [The Red Dream Factory: Mezhrabpom-Film and Prometheus 1921-1936]. Berlin: Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek / Bertz + Fischer Verlag, 2012.

Contents include:

Rainer Rother: In Deutschland entschiedener Erfolg. Die Rezeption sowjetischer Filme in der Weimarer Republic. - The reception in Weimar Germany was seminal for Soviet cinema.

Alexander Schwarz: Von der Hungerhilfe zum roten Medienkonzern. - The origin of Mezhrabpom was in International Workers' Relief. The Russian name is an abbreviation of those three words.

Aleksandr Derjabin: Die verlorene Partie des Moisej Alejnikow. - The biography of the remarkable Soviet film producer Moisei Aleinikov.

Wolfgang Mühl-Benninghaus: Zur Geschichte von Prometheus-Film GmbH und Film-Kartell Weltfilm: Produktion, Verleih, Finanzierung. - The German Prometheus-Film was founded as a sister company to the International Workers' Relief.

Jekaterina Chochlowa: Das Studio der Meister: Filme und Schicksale. - Artists such as Protazanov, Kuleshov, Pudovkin, and Barnet at Mezhrabpom.

Günter Agde: Im Widerstreit der Bilder. Utopien und Topoi. - Utopia, Futurism, science fiction, modernity, revolution, machines, jazz, and harbour as motifs and topoi.

Valérie Pozner: Die Einführung des Tonfilms bei Meschrabpom-Film. - The first Soviet sound film: The Road to Life.

Wiktor Beljakow: Auftrag und Risiko: Farbe im Film. - The first Soviet colour film: Grunya Kornakova /  Nightingale.

Alexander Schwarz: Von Glühbirnen und Gletschern, Kombinaten und Kaffeesklaven: Ein Überblick über die Dokumentarfilm-Produktion - Mezhrabpom was a prominent production house of non-fiction, most famously of Three Songs of Lenin.

Barbara Wurm: Von Mechanik des Gehirns zu Vierzig Herzen. Meschrabpom-Flim und der Kulturfilm. - The German Kulturfilme were popular in the USSR, and Mezhrabpomfilm also produced Soviet Kulturfilme such as The Mechanism of the Brain based on the work of Ivan Pavlov.

Ralf Forster: Die Trickfilmmeister von der Leningrader Chaussee. Wiege des sowjetischen Animationsfilms. - At the cradle of Soviet animation.

Günter Agde: Mit dem Blick nach Westen. - Collaborations with Western artists included films such as The Revolt of the Fishermen.

Alexander Schwarz, Valérie Pozner, Thomas Tode: Aktivitäten in den USA, in Frankreich und in Österreich. - Workers' International Relief was the pathbreaker of Soviet film import in the West, including the USA, France, and Austria.

An impressive hardcover book on the most visionary film company of the heroic era of Soviet cinema and its German brother company Prometheus-Films. The essays cover the main big themes, and there is a well-edited set of appendices including timelines, mini-biographies and a filmography edited by Alexander Schwarz and Aleksandr Derjabin with help from Yekaterina Khokholova covering 574 films produced by the eight different companies belonging to the Mezhrabpom concern. The films that have survived have been marked with an asterisk (but I noticed Belyi oryol / The White Eagle without an asterisk, although the movie has survived).

The handsome book has independent value as an art object because of its numerous colour reproductions of impressive and often rare posters from a remarkable era of film poster design. It's a collector's item.

The red dream was crushed in the 1930s in Russia under the wheels of the Stalinian-Zhdanovian cultural policy and in Germany when Hitler rose to power.

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