Reviews

The author analyses what early Soviet cinema reveals of the centre/periphery relationship, given the need to legitimise common identity for the newly created state.  The study is based upon a set of seven films: Arsenal (1929), The Earth (1930), Aerograd (1935) by Dovzhenko; The Salt of Svanetia (1930) by Kalatozov; One-Sixth of the World (1926) and Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbass (1931) by Vertov; Storm over Asia (1928) by Pudovkin.  The representation of four geographical areas is considered: Ukraine (the coordination of which with the centre remains ill-defined), the Caucasus (a place of “noble savagery”), Central Asia and Mongolia (both “waiting for a miracle to come”, and characterised by alleged apartness, hostility, passivity. . .), and the North and Far East (big repositories of endless natural resources).  The author demonstrates the flexible nature (geographically, temporally) of borderland imaginary, shifting to the vertical dependency (centre/peripheries) that prevailed in the 1930s.  The heritage of this imaginary is well rooted, and remains active sometimes up till the nowadays, as it is revealed notably by the Ukrainian filmmaker Petr Lutsik’s last film (Outskirts, 1998).

Cloé Drieu, French Institute of Central Asian Studies, Tashkent – Paris
CER: I-4.6-390