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Soviet Film Industry Given New Freedom

January 23, 1987|From Reuters

MOSCOW — The new leadership of the Soviet Cinema Workers' Union today announced a major reorganization of the country's film industry, including financial and editorial independence for studios formerly under full state control.

The changes, decided at a special plenum of the union this week, mark the latest stage of a cultural thaw under Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who has also encouraged movement toward liberalization in the theater and literature.

Film director and new union leader Elem Klimov told a news conference the reforms represented a marked departure from Soviet film-making methods of the past.

"We want to democratize the film industry," Klimov declared, saying the changes would bring greater freedom to directors while enhancing their responsibility.

The role of the state cinema authority Goskino, the former censorship board, will be restricted to outlining general strategy and coordinating the Soviet film industry.

"It will be an authority without censoring functions," said Klimov, whose own films were shelved in the past by Goskino. "Those functions will now be allocated to the studios."

Mosfilm and other big state studios will be broken down into smaller units which will be responsible for financing their own productions.

"The studios will look for scripts and choose them, shoot the films and prepare them for release," he said. "We are creating a market for film makers. If one studio rejects a director's film, he can go to another."

Previously Soviet directors had to submit screenplays to Goskino which used its authority to ban films considered politically unacceptable. There was no recourse.

Andrei Plakhov, a leading film critic who heads a new union Disputes Commission to review formerly banned films, said a number of shelved pictures "worthy of attention" will be brought to the screen shortly. He said the commission had spent hours poring over film archives in the aim of "re-establishing justice."

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