Saturday, May 15, 2010

Animated Soviet Propaganda

I've been watching a great many Soviet propaganda cartoons this year. This week, I showed a set to my students in my Cold War film class. I think it'd be interesting to discuss them here. Many are on You Tube, which will make it easy. Each day next week I'll be discussing one cartoon. Please watch and discuss. Here's the trailer below.

To analyze this trailer a bit, one thing I consistently find interesting is the lasting power looking at the US-USSR rivalry in terms of good and evil. Certainly that was on both sides, which is understandable in the context of the time. However, we often slip into that language today. This trailer talks about the "disinformation" the Soviet state gave to the people. That may be true, but it's not like Americans were having open and free discussions of communism in 1950, 1980, or even 2010. If we are looking negatively at how the USSR blinded its people with propaganda, we should be honest and admit the U.S. was doing the exact same thing. The Cold War was a war of ideology, fought with great vigor on both sides, both internally and externally. These animated Soviet films are just one, albeit very interesting and sometimes extremely weird, aspect of this broader multinational media war.