Comrade, Life Does Not Have to be So Gray

Posting on the blog „Poemas del Río Wang“, some observations on the film „Carnival of Colors“ (1935, U.S.S.R), which serves as a demo for an early Soviet-produced two-color motion picture film process.

In Карнавал цветов one role of ideology is clear enough — a practical color film process this early represents a technical advance, another paving stone on the road toadvancingRussia and turning it into a modern world state. And, like nearly all Soviet film production at the time, part of its role was to flatter power: a lengthy sequence presents images from the May 1 celebrations in Red Square, circa 1935.

The film Карнавал цветов (“Carnival of Colors”) is a technical and historical curiosity, produced in 1935 in the U.S.S.R. for the purpose of demonstrating a domestically developed color film process and promoting its use. Like a number of other experimental processes of the time, it differs from contemporary color methods because it uses only two color elements. (By contrast, more recent and familiar color film processes use three.) The color dyes selected for the Soviet system consist of a brilliant vermillion red and a turquoise green, as shown in these stills.