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Cinema, Mass Media and Propaganda

Film-maker and writer Tariq Ali and cultural theorist Esther Leslie explore how Russian cinema and mass media created a new form of politics that continues to shape our world. In partnership with the Royal Academy.

What to expect

From Sergei Eisenstein to Dziga Vertov, Soviet Russia was home to some of history’s greatest filmmakers. Providing unprecedented tools for sharing ideas with a mass audience, cinema, radio and television became driving vehicles for the politics of the era. Did these new media enable more democratic forms of exchange, with the public being given a voice in Russian culture? Or were these merely the foundation of a powerful and dangerous propaganda industry?

Join political commentator, film-maker and writer Tariq Ali and cultural theorist Esther Leslie to examine Russian cinema and mass media. This talk shall explore the rise of these new media, their relationship to politics and the lessons we can learn from them for the present.

This event is part of the ‘Ways of Life’ talks series, in partnership with the Royal Academy.

Gustav Klutsis, Photomontage, lithography on paper, 1924, Ne boltai! Collection

Valentina Kulagina, To the Defence of the USSR, Poster, 1930, Ne boltai! Collectio

Valentina Kulagina, Front cover design by Valentina Kulagina entitled 1st of May in ‘Krasnaya niva’ magazine, 1930, Ne boltai! Collection

Valentina Kulagina, We Build, 1930's, Ne boltai! Collection

Booking information

Adult £10, student/concession £7.50, Members £9

For a five day priority booking period Members have access to a limited number of tickets that are available at a 10% discount before tickets go on general release.

Speakers

Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including The Dilemmas of Lenin, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Extreme Centre —as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.

Esther Leslie

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is a leading expert on Marxism and Marxist theories of aesthetics and culture. Her books include Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism and Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage. She is also an editor for Radical Philosophy and Historical Materialism.

Related exhibition

Imagine Moscow: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution

Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution, it explores Moscow as it was imagined by a generation of architects and designers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Background image:Valentina Kulagina, Front cover design by Valentina Kulagina entitled 1st of May in ‘Krasnaya niva’ magazine, 1930, Ne boltai! Collection