East Side Story (1997)

Genres - Film, TV & Radio, History  |   Sub-Genres - Film & Television History  |   Release Date - Jun 25, 1997 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 76 min.  |   Countries - Germany  |  
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Between the late '30s and the mid-'60s, the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc countries it controlled made numerous films, most of which were either optimistic, joyous fantasies exalting the glories of the new regime or serious, realistic dramas designed to inspire feelings of superiority and patriotism. Heavy government censorship carefully regulated the content of the films so as to avoid criticism of the regime or the promotion of "harmful" political ideas. But one genre of films was given a little more freedom to circumvent the government strictures -- the musicals, which were made to distract audiences from the oppressive political realities of their daily lives. Though few if any were released in the West, the Soviet Union and its satellite countries made over 40 musicals between the late '30s and the mid-'60s. This fascinating and fun, but not campy, documentary from American screenwriter/producer Andrew Horn and Romanian-born director/screenwriter Dana Ranga examines the little-known genre and features clips from such musicals as Vacation on the Black Sea (Romania), The Wayward Wife (Czech/GDR), Tractor Drivers (USSR), and the classic Volga, Volga, Stalin's favorite movie. The films are introduced by a noted Russian film historian. Also, the documentary includes interviews with a few people involved with making the musicals.

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behind-the-scenes, Communism, film, film-clips, film-industry, filmmaker, musical [play], Russia, Soviet