National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus



1920–1930s BELARUSIAN CINEMA IN THE FILM POSTERS

In the framework of the events dedicated to the Belarusian Cinema Day, the thematic exhibition "1920–1930s BELARUSIAN CINEMA IN THE FILM POSTERS" will be opened at 5 pm, December 19 with the presentation of an interactive multimedia application to it. Venue: exhibition hall of the Museum of the history of Belarusian cinema, branch of the National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus.

Judging by the titles, the national film studio (“Belgoskino” – “Soviet Belarus” – “Belarusfilm”) has made over 550 feature films about 95 years of the existence of Belarusian cinematography, only 60 of them during 1926 – 1941. However, this is the unique period when film posters (originally called “artistic playbill”) become an important element of the film process.

The exhibition contains 35 full–size and full–color reprints of film posters of Belarusian films of 1926–1940 and shows the peculiarities of Soviet film posters of the 1920s–1930s and their evolution as silent movies turned into sound films.

The stylistics of the 1920s film posters is based on the techniques of constructivism, which was the most popular direction of the then artistic avant–garde. As a result, the best genre specimens present a peculiar kind of montage composition that consists of photographic images (film shots), elements of linear graphics, hand–drawn fonts and forceful subject matter that is intensified with the help of color (See You Tomorrow”, “Born in Flames”, “The Savoy Hotel”, “Hatred”).

The sound radically changes not only the film imagery but also the approaches of the film advertisers. Their point of departure is still the film shot, which is now expanded to the size of a sheet without extra details. In the 1930s artists use fewer elements of conditionality and more frequently confine themselves to redrawing the most spectacular film shots turning their works into colorful realistic pictures (“Born Twice”, “Golden Lights”). It is no wonder that soon a composition pattern is established: the main hero’s close–up in color in the center, the details showing the film’s plotline in the background (The Girl Hurrying Up For an Appointment”, “My Love”)…

In the 1920s–1930s the USSR saw a film boom, and a number of talented graphic artists and constructivist designers paid tribute to film posters: they could give vent to their imagination and demonstrate bright original imagery fulfilling the orders of different film studios.

The “Sovkino” joint–stock company which had the monopoly of state film distribution on the territory of the former USSR had its advertisement bureaus in Moscow and Leningrad. Leading masters of the international cohort of film poster artists worked there. Their innovative approach and artistic achievements contributed to recognizing the Soviet film posters of the first half of the 20th century a unique artistic phenomenon of world renown. The film posters of Vladimir Stenberg, Maxim Litvak, Mikhail Dlugach, Izrael Bograd, Nikolay Khomov, Dmitri Bulanov, Boris Zelensky and, naturally, Vitebsk–born Mikhail Veksler (among 14 authors presented here) make the basis of the exhibition.

The exhibition organizers would like to draw the visitors’ attention to 3 examples of film posters in Belarusian (for the films “Kastus Kalinovsky”, “The Spring Song”, “:A Gentleman and A Rooster”), which were printed in large numbers in Moscow printing houses (one has to take into account the network of film distribution in Belarus in those years).

It is no accident that the exhibition shows 3 film posters for the heroic adventure film “Kastus Kalinovsky”: according to official plans, it was to become the first film of the Belarusian cinema, which is emphasized not only by the number but also by the size of these posters.

A few of the posters (for the films “The Forest Tale”, “The Fiery Years”) are interesting from the point of view of their authors expressing their own attitude to the concrete film’s material, theme and hero in addition to fulfilling their professional task…

The exhibition is the result of the 15–year–long research work of the employees of the Museum of the History of Belarusian Cinema in Minsk (mainly in Russian archives), who little by little eliminate the white spots in the past of Belarusian cinematography. The collection of film posters is presented in such a scope for the first time after 75 years of forgetfulness. However, its reconstruction is not yet over: during the period when the film poster was actually the main and most powerful advertisement tool as far as box office is concerned 2, 3 or even more various film posters and photo posters were made…

The main feature of the exhibition is not only to show two new products – a poster for the film “In the Big City” and a full–length version of the poster for the picture “The First Platoon”, but also to present an interactive multimedia application to the collection in three languages, which greatly enriches the idea of the subject. With the help of this application, visitors can learn about the figurative and stylistic features of the posters, get familiarized with the biography of their authors, get an idea of the genre, thematic and stylistic characteristics of the film, which a particular poster is related to as well as see a specific fragment of the film and hear the original musical soundtrack (melody or song)...

Interactive multimedia application has been created as part of the small grants program of the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of Belarus.

Address: Museum of Belarusian cinema history, Minsk, Sverdlov str., 4

Working Hours: daily from 11–00 to 19–00

Help tel. 8 017 327–10–75, 8 029 627–10–75

Price of entrance tickets to visit both exhibition and screen parts of the project:

2 rubles – for children from 6 years, schoolchildren and pensioners;

2.5 rubles – for students;

3 rubles – for adults.