Cinematograph is one of the wonders of the modern world. In 1895 the Lumiere brothers gave the world's first real cinema show in Paris to an audience of thirty-three spectators. The first film they showed was "The Arrival of a train at a Station". Moving pictures seemed so real that the audience was frightened to death by the train rushing at them from the screen. Not long ago millions of people used to visit cinema each week. Cinema houses were often packed full and one could see people queuing up in front of the box offices. Now with the price of tickets far from reasonable the growth of video production and the flood thrillers empty of serious content the cinema's rapidly losing its popularity. Cinematograph is truly an art of our time. It's as complicated and multi-facet as the twentieth century itself. Everyone can find something to his liking in the broad variety of its genres. Those who seek pure entertainment and rest to the mind prefer musical comedies, detective films, thrillers, horror films and westerns. Other people consider that movies should be rather a thought provoking and earnest art than all fun. Personally I am for entertaining both the heart and mind at the same time. Lately I've seen a feature film that was a hit with the public. I, myself, can praise it unreservedly
. It was an Eldar Ryazanov film "The Promised Heavens" released by the Mosfilm studio. If my memory doesn't fail me, Ryazanov also wrote the script. The action takes place in Moscow of our days. Such famous actors and actresses as Basilashvily, Kartzev, Pashutin, Gaft are co-starring in the film. Their characters are bums and beggars, people of different biographies but of the same tragic fate. It's hard to judge who is to blame for their present poverty and despair. But it's obvious that the former painter, now a beggar, as well as the ex-convict and the ex-politician and the former cook for some party boss have preserved more humanity than all those, respectable citizens on whom they now depend. They are deprived of everything and in the end even their slums in the city dump are being taken away from them. Tanks are used against harmless paupers and no wonder that they may only hope for the help from the space. I've enjoyed every minute of this film. I couldn't help laughing and crying following the development of the action. I think the acting was superb which is quite natural with such a cast: I believe there's no one like Eldar Ryazanov in revealing the inner world of a humble person. That's the reason why I do admire his films.
Cinema is one of the most important means of entertainment and propaganda. It is an ideological instrument of the political party at power in a country. Cinema is a mirror reflection of the county rulers and their policy. If you want to go to the cinema in Russia today you will have to face two problems. The first is to find a cinema in your locality which is still showing films and which has not been turned into a disco, bar, amusement arcade or a furniture salon-shop. The second is to find a film worth seeing. The large industrial cities used to have five or six cinemas in the centre and about thirty in the suburbs. Even small towns had several cinemas. But since the advent of television, video and perestroika, cinemas have been closing down at an alarming rate. Now if you want to see a film there only few central cinema halls at your disposal. There are several reasons why the film industry is losing audiences. Many film makers put the blame on television and video, and this was certainly a major cause at the beginning. But since television and video audience figures have now passed their peak, while cinema audiences continue to decline, part of the answer must be sought in the quality of the films now being produced. If some fifteen years ago under the socialism, our film industry aimed to make better films filled with love, friendship, struggle for the cause of peace and justice, nowadays many of the film tycoons in our country have found the exactly opposite solution making stupid third-rate comedies and action films about prostitutes and killers. Cinema in Russia has been gradually becoming Americanised. Of course, Hollywood is a great film centre, but they on the one hand try to lure the public back into the cinema with all sorts of films with an accent on horror and the lowest kind of pornography and on the other hand propagandise violence, promiscuity and individualism
The most recent box-office successes combine all features in a blend of savagery, racialism, anti-socialism, sexual degradation and violation! It works for with a certain category of cinema-lovers typically teenagers and spiritually sick people. Another solution to make cinema popular again is the introduction of all kinds of technical develop-ments like wide-screen and cinemascope, 3-D, Cinerama, Dolby surround sound, power-driven chairs, etc.; but despite the advantages of improved techniques, the audiences continue to decline. It only proves that cinema-goers very quickly get accustomed to these technological advances and they want more from the point of view of the film's ideological content and message. The present state of cinema leaves me no chance of going to see a corny film in a dilapidating building with bad sound and picture quality. I'd prefer to stay in and watch the good old Soviet "Twelve Chairs" or "The Caucasus Prisoner". Though some oversea productions are worth seeing, too. There is only hope that our country regains its status of the world's highly spiritual and cultural film production centre.