Are communism-era films worth preserving?

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Mike Gebert

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Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 2:10 pm

A thoughtful BBC radio report on a debate in Albania over whether Communist-era films should be banned from TV in Albania, because they encourage nostalgia for the Hoxha era.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04xffg1" target="_blank
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boblipton

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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 2:24 pm

I haven't listened to it, but why would Albanians be nostalgic for Romanian communists?

Bob
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 2:27 pm

Everything is worth preserving, but some things are not worth showing
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 2:34 pm

I haven't listened to it, but why would Albanians be nostalgic for Romanian communists?


Because I was eating an orange while typing. Corrected.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 2:49 pm

FrankFay wrote:Everything is worth preserving, but some things are not worth showing


Everything is worth preserving and showing. A very few things are not worth seeing (see my review of Mother Riley Meets the Vampire).

Bob
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 2:24 am

I have DVD copie's of the eight model plays from the Chinese Cultural Revolution period as approved by Madam Mao from the 1960's. Transfers are not very good but as artistic works they are all excellent with the best ballet dancers, Chinese opera actors and dazzling choreography that one could imagine. The propaganda aspect can be taken with a grain of salt. That was the real world then for people living in China. If they were released on Bluray I would buy the lot again.
Recently saw the live ballet of The Red Detachment of Women performed by the Chinese National Ballet. Absolutely stunning performance.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 2:48 am

boblipton wrote:
FrankFay wrote:Everything is worth preserving, but some things are not worth showing


Everything is worth preserving and showing. A very few things are not worth seeing (see my review of Mother Riley Meets the Vampire).

Bob
But now I am actually becoming curious... This could be a second Plan 9 from outer space! :)
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 2:52 am

One can ask the same question about German pictures during the period 1933-1945. I can't see any reason for not preserving them - as long as the propaganda aspect in some of them is explained to any audiences who might not be so aware. We just can't close our eyes to something that happened, it all needs to be brought out in the open.

There are some Soviet era films that are quite good and well made - and then there are ones such as the joy of a new tractor arriving in a village that I could possibly do without.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 6:25 am

Donald Binks wrote:There are some Soviet era films that are quite good and well made - and then there are ones such as the joy of a new tractor arriving in a village that I could possibly do without.
Agreed. If it's not a privately owned tractor, bought with real money (denominations without 20 zeros of inflation), then I'll definitely pass! :p
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 8:23 am

This reminds me of a seldom seen documentary from 1997 called "East Side Story" directed by Dana Ranga. It is a compilation of scenes from Soviet/East European Musicals from the 50's - 60's. It is unintentionally funny to hear communist ideology being sung in a casual, lighthearted way. One scene stands out, as a peasant girl sings joyfully to her pigs. This is a must see for anyone interested in the "good old days" of totalitarianism and repression, dressed up in all its gaiety.

Danny
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 2:14 pm

boblipton wrote:
FrankFay wrote:Everything is worth preserving, but some things are not worth showing


Everything is worth preserving and showing. A very few things are not worth seeing (see my review of Mother Riley Meets the Vampire).

Bob


Ah, but if you hadn't seen it you wouldn't know it wasn't worth seeing.

I shall work that one out later...
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 2:21 pm

There is also the argument that governments systems of these countries and thus some of the films themselves, were not truly communist, as their people were often put after politics. Also, that the high-up government officials were often much better off in many respects than the rest of the population.

Of course it is a good thing that these works should be preserved (if possible) so that we can see them for ourselves if we should so wish to. There is no compulsion to watch them, after all. There are plenty of things I do not wish to see / read / eat / drink / do without denying others the opportunity.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 3:07 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote: Also, that the high-up government officials were often much better off in many respects than the rest of the population.
.


I think the above epithet applies to any governmental system and just does not apply to Bolshevism or Nazism. The "it fell off the back of a lorry" mentality pervades well and truly.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 5:42 pm

boblipton wrote:
FrankFay wrote:Everything is worth preserving, but some things are not worth showing


Everything is worth preserving and showing. A very few things are not worth seeing (see my review of Mother Riley Meets the Vampire).

Bob


Does this involve clergy?
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote: Also, that the high-up government officials were often much better off in many respects than the rest of the population.
.


I think the above epithet applies to any governmental system and just does not apply to Bolshevism or Nazism. The "it fell off the back of a lorry" mentality pervades well and truly.


But to be accurate, usually not to the extent of literal starvation and mass execution.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 8:34 pm

wich2 wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote: Also, that the high-up government officials were often much better off in many respects than the rest of the population.
.


I think the above epithet applies to any governmental system and just does not apply to Bolshevism or Nazism. The "it fell off the back of a lorry" mentality pervades well and truly.


But to be accurate, usually not to the extent of literal starvation and mass execution.


To be fair, I think that our learned friend was referring to the fat cats who seem to do well under any sort of system - not to what the system actually does.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 3:45 am

Been discussed here before, Keisuke Kinoshita's war time Japanese films available in a five film set from the Criterion Eclipse series are worthwhile watching. They give a good insight into Japanese wartime thinking and are generally relatively light on propaganda. Less so than most US wartime films. The most interesting and also excellent film RIKUGUN or ARMY is the most strident propaganda film of the set and gives a good understanding to the mystery for foreigners as to why the Japanese were so willing to die for the Emperor. The heavy propaganda in this film gets pumped relentlessly up until the startling ending that upends and demolishes the entire propaganda message. Apparently Kinoshita got into a lot of trouble, accused of sabotage and was lucky to remain alive for this effort. He was banned from making anymore films for the remainder of the war.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 10:32 am

Interestingly enough, I have seen a lot of German movies dating between 1933 and 1945. Very few of them are really propaganda, as Goebbels knew that population did not want to see Nazis on the screen, and a lot of those movies are pretty good. Even more interesting: I am slowly working my way through the pictures produced in Eastern Germany and the test of time is well passed. Especially in the 60ies or 70ies, they beat the product of former West Germany in many cases. By the way: folks should learn to detect elements of state propaganda for the best of us all..
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 11:16 am

>I think the above epithet applies to any governmental system and just does not apply to Bolshevism or Nazism. The "it fell off the back of a lorry" mentality pervades well and truly.<

>>But to be accurate, usually not to the extent of literal starvation and mass execution.<<

>>>To be fair, I think that our learned friend was referring to the fat cats who seem to do well under any sort of system - not to what the system actually does.<<<

But to be precise, any such Sameness charge as, "applies to any governmental system," needs qualification about genuine Differences.

(We've had some real problems here in the States of late, with False Equivalencies.)
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 10:25 pm

Connoisseur wrote:Interestingly enough, I have seen a lot of German movies dating between 1933 and 1945. Very few of them are really propaganda, as Goebbels knew that population did not want to see Nazis on the screen, and a lot of those movies are pretty good. Even more interesting: I am slowly working my way through the pictures produced in Eastern Germany and the test of time is well passed. Especially in the 60ies or 70ies, they beat the product of former West Germany in many cases. By the way: folks should learn to detect elements of state propaganda for the best of us all..


I have been listening to some great Eastern German pop from the 1960s, like Ina Martell, Britt Kersen, and Brigitte Ahrens.
It's as good as anything done in the West during that time.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostWed Mar 29, 2017 7:52 am

Of course these films are worth preserving. Do we really want to be 'those guys'? You'd think by now, with all the lessons learned about our own loss of our own film history, that this wouldn't even be a question.

Nobody has to watch them but I think we owe it to future film buffs to take care of what we have now. Yeah, there's probably no Cleopatra , London After Midnight, or Four Devils in the bunch, but maybe this generation shouldn't be the one to decide what future generations would like to see. That hasn't really worked out for us in the past.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostWed Mar 29, 2017 8:15 am

Other than the headline, I don't think preservation was ever really in doubt here—it's a question of whether they should be on TV. Germany made seeing many of the Nazi-era films difficult (though not all— Munchhausen was playing in Munich in 1977 when I went there). The problem is, they probably represent most of the pop culture of Albania.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostSat Apr 01, 2017 3:30 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Other than the headline, I don't think preservation was ever really in doubt here—it's a question of whether they should be on TV. Germany made seeing many of the Nazi-era films difficult (though not all— Munchhausen was playing in Munich in 1977 when I went there). The problem is, they probably represent most of the pop culture of Albania.

I'm ignorant of the current state of affairs in Albania, but while I wouldn't force anyone to watch a movie, is putting them on television forcing people to watch? Are Albanians as touchy as Americans?

In a satiric piece I wrote about a coming year, one prediction was, "Outraged Swarthmore students demand the resignation of its President and trustees when a the professor teaching “Development of the Cinema 1905 – 1915,” refuses to re-shoot films with outdated racial, sexual, and gender stereotypes.

I can think of any number of American films I'd like to see (on TV or otherwise), but I can't believe anyone would be crazy enough to program them. A climate in which Keaton's "The General" does not auger well.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostWed Apr 05, 2017 4:04 pm

If they restore and release films like Triumph of the Will, why not communist films?

We can't make apology to such films.

But our civilization makes excuses so crap ideas if they are inserted in a religion faith. Like I use to say, if nazism was a religion, people would ask respect for it.

Crazy world...
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostWed Apr 05, 2017 8:27 pm

>But our civilization makes excuses so crap ideas if they are inserted in a religion faith.<

With respect, AD, that comment is wholly lacking in respect.

-Craig
(a person with reasonable intelligence, as well as faith)
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostWed Apr 05, 2017 9:02 pm

Well, I presume you are thinking about communism pushs atheism, and so my comment would be out of subject.

I disagree, I see a lot of "religion" in communism.
One main ideas in communism is to subvert their own people, to kill the onmion culture values between them and stats a dictatorship and a image of the dictator to be adored (and feared).
Fear, obain, unquestionable support, what this remambers???

Dictatorship in such levesl, like with Stalin, and now in North Korea did, it's quite like many "Gods" tried to do. Most religions try to place the destroctive and dictatorship of many "Gods" as something beautiful or even loveful, but it's the same garbage.
While many ocidental religions were domesticated, softned to look more kind and less sociopath, their base origens are horrible. like many dictatorships . Their "evolution" was based in sociaty's changes that were not made by religion leaders, but by social and intelectual moviments, and religion was forced to change together and so "God" "changed idea".

One movie that I believe shows almost the born of a religion is Colossus, The Forbin Project. In the end of the film Colossus dominated the entire world by the treat of a nuclear holocausto and tried to place a new order based on fear, to command humanity as he wishes, and finish saying that humanity will learn to fear hin, follow hin, be organized by hin, and for last love hin.

So... about show comunist films... Why not? After all they show many biblical films too.


wich2 wrote:>But our civilization makes excuses so crap ideas if they are inserted in a religion faith.<

With respect, AD, that comment is wholly lacking in respect.

-Craig
(a person with reasonable intelligence, as well as faith)
Last edited by All Darc on Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostThu Apr 06, 2017 1:27 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
I haven't listened to it, but why would Albanians be nostalgic for Romanian communists?


Because I was eating an orange while typing. Corrected.


Mike, there's no reason to apologize for an orange influenced typo unless it originates from an orange comb-over. :lol:


Mike Gebert wrote:Other than the headline, I don't think preservation was ever really in doubt here—it's a question of whether they should be on TV. Germany made seeing many of the Nazi-era films difficult (though not all— Munchhausen was playing in Munich in 1977 when I went there). The problem is, they probably represent most of the pop culture of Albania.


Interesting discussion. I'd say absolutely allow full access, with the caveat that admonitions should be provided (where needed) that respects the sensitivities of older audiences while providing context for uninformed younger viewers.

One could make the same arguments for films like Triunph of the Will for German audiences and Birth of a Nation for American audiences. In fact, information providing context should be included for all international audiences, since films reflect upon the culture producing them. Controversial content information along with maturity guidelines placed prior before, during (if commercial breaks are employed) and after broadcast are prudent. Streaming is a gray area though. Perhaps context cautions should be required by regulation for streaming services to cover all bases.

FTR, I'm a firm believer in saving every film and archiving for historical reference. Also, with rare exception, I'm persuaded that restoring and releasing every marketable film on one of the disc formats is a laudable enterprise. I'm allowing myself a little wiggle room here because there may be films that are so controversial or offensive to prurient interests (violence, perverse sexual content, political agenda advocation) that no reasonable contextual assertion would undo the potential damage forecast from a wide release.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostFri Apr 07, 2017 1:49 pm

Guess the other point (aside from films with a guaranteed audience) is who pays? But yes, they should be kept in principle, if only for historical purposes.
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostFri Apr 07, 2017 2:11 pm

You are talking about nazi films and comunism dictator films, and while you talk studio censor kids cartoon for racismo, even for adult sell:



In times when anyone can watch a film of Islamic State torturing cruelly and killing, burning alive and other abominations, on Youtube... Is there a point in censor comunist films ???
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Re: Are communism-era films worth preserving?

PostMon May 01, 2017 11:06 am

A Film Quartely article by Mark Cousins arguing against banning Albanian Communist-era films...
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