Global Communist Media at your Fingertips

Heat map of communist films for the eastern hemisphere. Any of those circles pique your curiosity?

A new e-resource, Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda, brings a treasure trove of film to your fingertips. Digitized, captioned, and made searchable by Adam Matthew, Socialism on Film included documentaries, newsreels, and feature films spanning the early 20th century through the 1980s. British communist Stanley Forman collected the films which then became the ETV-Plato Films collection at the British Film Institute.

Global in scope, the films represent the world of Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese, East European, and Latin American filmmakers. Interested in films from or depicting a particular region? You can use the interactive map feature to browse films by country, even by city, while also filtering by genre, era, or sub-collection. The sub-collections are thematic and include: The Holocaust and War Crimes; Nuclear War and Peace Movements; and Revolution in Cuba and Latin America, among others.

An interactive timeline lets you scan for interesting events or hone in on films from a moment in time that intrigues you.

In addition to the map, Socialism on Film includes an interactive chronology which embeds video clips from select films in entries noting key events from the Cold War period.

Due to their content, it is worth noting that many of the films are difficult. These bear warnings for the viewer to alert them to such elements. For example, the 1981 film, Women Speak up for Peace, from the USSR bears the warning: “features images of starving, injured and dead children.”

For students and scholars of history, politics, international relations, film, anthropology, or various area studies this collection is a veritable trove of potential sources.

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