Alexander Medvedkin’s “New Moscow”

Ever heard of Alexander Medvedkin and his film “New Moscow” (1938) (subtitles on
If you haven’t, don’t feel bad, check out Chris Marker’ superb documentary about Medvedkin called “The Last of the Bolsheviks” and you can know more about the Soviet film director and his fights with the authorities and his courage in making films such as “Happiness” (1935) and “New Moscow”. 

Here is the abstract of my recent article about New Moscow and some screenshots I like from the movie.

“This article studies the ideological errors in Alexander Medvedkin’s film New Moscow, or what precisely lead the censors to ban the movie even before its release scheduled for early 1939. 

The movie tells the story of Aliosha, an engineer from a Soviet remote village, who goes to Moscow to display his creation: a moving miniature model of the capital, which ends up malfunctioning. My contention is that not only was the last segment of the film, in which this model goes haywire, a representation of the beautiful capital before the revolution instead of its modernized glory, but that Medvedkin has embedded several subversive elements in the film which could not have been edited out. Through the paradigm of socialist realist literature studied by Katerina Clark, Medvedkin’s work is examined against this literary form with focus on four scenes: Aliosha’s arrival to Moscow and his interrupted train ride, his first experience of the capital in the metro, his singing at the carnival and lastly the display of his askew model of Moscow.”


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Hanin aka Kinofrau: 27 and counting, Ph.D in Film Theory & Art History in progress, from the Middle-(B)east, a specter that haunts Europe, equal-opportunity offender.

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