In any history of Russian film questions about boundaries arise, directly or by implication. The subject cannot include all of the production of the Russian Empire, the old Soviet Union, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Nonetheless, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, among the Fathers of Soviet film, is a fact of the Russian and Ukrainian cinemas; Mikhail Chiaureli, in the Stalinist generation, a fact of the Georgian and Russian cinemas; and later, Sergei Paradzhanov, from the generation that came to artistic maturity after Stalin’s death, of the Armenian, Ukrainian, Georgian, and Russian cinemas. Iakov Protazanov is a pre-revolutionary filmmaker and a post-revolutionary one. The work of film artists in emigration or temporarily working in France, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere enters into various constructions of the subject. Ivan Mozzhukhin, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Andrei Konchalovsky are candidates for inclusion in histories in international contexts.
Questions about genres also arise. Avant-garde Soviet film challenged the dominant narrative models of bourgeois audiences, along with the conventions of film viewing. Agitprop in the twenties erased the boundaries between fiction and fact. Film became not a fiction or a document, but a tool in the reconstruction of reality; Sergei Eisenstein’s films about revolution in the twenties and even Aleksandr Medvedkin’s about collectivization in the thirties were part of this tradition.