Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Wednesday, Comrades!

In the middle of everything, a book I'd ordered from the library finally came in: Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War by Kristin Roth-Ey. I haven't really had a chance to dig in but--like my grandfather taught me--I have investigated in the index and saw a few Bollywood films listed! The author appears to dig into the Soviet love for Bollywood films so if I come across anything of interest, I'll be sure to report back to you.

I know I've mentioned it before but I have a real fondness for Soviet-era films. It's part of the same pull I have towards vintage Bollywood films. Part of it is the moral values unconcerned with the judeo-christian-capitalism I find so loathsome, part of it is how they operate completely outside the 'realist' standard for film that took over Hollywood, and part of it is… just plain fun.

From one of my favorites, Brilliantovaya Ruka. Ah, I miss the sound of Russian.


Speaking of cross-cultural things, I saw the piece in Firstpost about how some UN Report says Indian films are the worst on stereotyping women. I call bullshit on that study because I looked at it and their research methods were not great. They only looked at ten films from each country surveyed and the indicators they looked at were geared towards the concerns of Western media--i.e. thinness, sexualization, participation in the workforce, whether or not they were in a position of authority…

All I have to say is that they looked at 'thinness' but not 'fairness' says a lot about how relevant this study is to the 'Indian' film industry. (Because no mention of what language the films were on because all of India is the same, I guess, to them.)


Not that India is perfect but I don't think you can single out Bollywood for unfair sexualization of women when the male leads are usually equally if not more sexualized. I've seen plenty of films with women working as computer programmers and lady politicians and etc. Were those subjects even a topic of the films the study selected?! You can't just say FILMS NEED TO HAVE LADY ENGINEERS IN GENERAL if a film isn't even about engineering!! Argh.

Anyways, my two cents is that this study is worthless. The entire world needs a good course in how to properly study the social sciences, apparently.

ETA: I mean, it's only in the USA and the west where women being computer programmers IS SEEN AS WEIRD or unusual!! CASE IN POINT. It's when those Indian lady programmers get to America that they have trouble…

7 comments:

@ksana said...

Yeah, Soviet-Indian movie friendship... Till day I remember "Ali Baba aur 40 chor" which for me was totally Soviet movie for kids - I mean, they even got Soviet actors, movie was shot partly in USSR... and only much later in life I realised that this movie was sooooooo Indian! Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Zeenat Aman... R.D.Burman, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar... But back in my childhood it felt totally normal to have that mix in a "Soviet" movie =) And now I know what was the first Indian movie in my life =)

Apex said...

Oh that's a lovely comment on the unique indo Russian collaborations....
Havent seen leviathan--is making some good noises.
Reminds me -Changing gears a bit into something different genre wise --really liked the bella tarrs (Hungarian) Turin horse ..not4every1tho

Snobby SydneySider said...

Heard somewhere that Bollywood films were very popular in Russia and even China in like the 60s and 70s. Is this true? I was surprised to hear it.

Filmi Girl said...

@Ksana I should find this one! Thanks for sharing!

@Apex Thanks for the tip--I hadn't heard of this one before but it looks good. I liked Nightwatch and Daywatch a lot but I don't know if I've seen too much recent Russian films…


@Snobby It is true! Although my Russian friend they were seen as ladies films/junk films in the 1980s in the Soviet Union, at least. They would dub everything except the songs. And you can find a lot of Bollywood things on youtube in Russian.

Miranda said...

Aww, I LOVE old Soviet films. Esp. the 50s and 60s films ... c. Kruschev Thaw. You are totally right that they offer something much better than a lot of the Hollywood fare of the time (which was so caught up in technicolor and studio excess it forgot how to tell stories sometimes). The Soviet films really commit emotionally--they're not afraid to totally get on board with their character's innermost drama (in their own unique stylistic manner o/c, but in principle similar to Bollywood's mantra).

As for realism (ha!), if people just watched watch something like The Kommunist (1960) ...where Yevgeni Urbansky chops down huge trees ON CAMERA, or something from Mikhail Kalatozov (whose actors acted in forest fires, burning buildings, and freezing conditions) ... well, the Soviets were no softies, despite the occasional heart on the red sleeve. And yes, the secularism is a breath of fresh air sometimes ... along with the propaganda, which is still inspiring to watch, baseless claims or no.

Snobby SydneySider said...

Wow! I am surprised they even made it onto Soviet TV in those days! Wonder if they dubbed Bollywood films into Mandarin as well?!

Apex said...

"The Soviet films really commit emotionally--they're not afraid to totally get on board with their character's innermost drama (in their own unique stylistic manner o/c, but in principle similar to Bollywood's mantra). "-- that's an interesting point Miranda thanx

Anyhow bangx2 trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGlcxSnc0pg&sns=em

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl