History of Russian Cinema

Vakbeschrijving History of Russian Cinema
Collegejaar: 2017-2018
Studiegidsnummer: 5643KRC
  • Dr. O.F. Boele
Voertaal: Engels
Blackboard: Ja
EC: 5
Niveau: 300
Periode: Semester 2, Blok III, IV
  • Wel Keuzevak
  • Wel Contractonderwijs
  • Wel Exchange
  • Wel Study Abroad
  • Geen Avondonderwijs
  • Geen A-la-Carte en Aanschuifonderwijs
  • Geen Honours Class

Admission requirements

Not applicable.


This course presents an overview of Russian cinema from its inception during the late-imperial period to the art-house films and blockbusters of the Putin era. Special attention will be paid to the so-called Montage movement of the 1920s, when Soviet cinema became widely known as one of the most innovative national cinemas in the world, but we will also look at some musicals of the Stalin period, “red westerns” of the 1970s and historical films as vehicles of state propaganda. One prejudice this course wants to do away with is that Russian films are slow and tedious.

Apart from showing and discussing the most influential films of the past hundred years, the course also dwells on the following questions: has Russian cinema developed a specific “national” style? What was the position of Russian (Soviet) film makers under communism and what has changed in the film business since the collapse of the Soviet Union? How was Soviet film production affected by censorship and is it still operative in Russia today?

Course objectives

To gain insight into the most important genres and currents of Russian cinema, as well as into the historical and political contexts in which cinema has developed;

To be able to situate Russian cinema within a larger constellation of art forms (literature and the pictorial arts);

To become familiar with and be able to apply basic concepts of film analysis.


The timetable is available on https://www.student.universiteitleiden.nl/studie-en-studeren/studie/onderwijsinformatie/roosters/geesteswetenschappen/russische-studies-ba?cf=geesteswetenschappen&cd=russische-studies-ba#tab-3

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Lectures: 52 hours (lecture = 2 hours, film screening = 2 hours).
Literature and individual watching of films: 88 hours

Assessment method


Written examination with essay questions.



Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

making available extra reading materials.

Reading list

*Birgit Beumers, A History of Russian Cinema (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2009)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English])http://hum.leiden.edu/students/study-administration/usis-english.html) and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. O.F. Boele


Not applicable