chapter  26
8 Pages

The rise and fall of film music in the period of stagnation. The problem of choice: the semi-official film, the commercial 'hit' or auteur cinema.

The next stage in the biography of Soviet film music is connected with that period which was subsequently called the epoch of stagnation by Soviet historians and political commentators. Yet, in spite of the absence of any obvious movement in the political and social life of the country, this period was marked by developments in the arts, which were intense though extremely contradictory in their ideological and moral orientations. Music and cinema were no exceptions. Moreover, the process of cinema stratification, at the end of the '60s and the beginning of the '70s, led to the appearance of official' all-union' films which yielded to the pressure of the party and state structures; main stream commercial films which had monetary success and exploited the genres of the hit and the melodrama; and auteur films, intellectual and poetical, which appealed to the philosophical, spiritual problems of human existence. This process was accompanied by an inner differentiation of stylistic language models, and the formation of stable musical images for each of the above tendencies. At the same time, the acquaintance of Soviet film directors with the works of the leading foreign masters (Visconti, Fellini, Bergman), who paid much attention to music, also had a certain influence upon the extension of musical expressive means in cinema. This forced coexistence, within the same period, of mutually exclusive trends caused a quaint and often paradoxical combination of the outdated cliches of socialist realism with the latest advances of modern music, which had made the music of the '70s and the early '80s motley, eclectic and unbalanced.