Archive for May 23, 2010

The Sunday Intertitle: B&W?

Posted in FILM with tags on May 23, 2010 by dcairns

The gigantic Animated Soviet Propaganda box set is really worth a look, if you have the means. Amazing design sense and a variety of styles, plus a variety of didactic approaches. While some of the anti-western satire is easy to dismiss, knowing what we do about life in the USSR, a few of the films hit home hard. The 1933 short BLACK AND WHITE deals with race in America, and its salvoes basically hit the mark: all achieved without words and pretty much without intertitles, save for the above animated question mark which morphs into an imprisoning knot, and the inscription “Lenin,” offered up at the end as a kind of panacea to the problems we’ve just seen. Paul Robeson must have liked this.

Particularly chilling is the white boss’s drive into town along a SPARTACUS-type highway of hanged black men, while a lynched figurine jiggles against his back windscreen. And the film’s rhetorical connection of the state’s electric chair to the lynch mob’s noose, as well as the not-too-subtle connection drawn between the overseer with the whip and the priest with the cross, seem, you know, basically TRUE to me.

Available from Amazon:

Animated Soviet Propaganda: From the October Revolution to Perestroika (4 DVD Set)