chapter  12
Socialist Realism and American Genre Film: The Mixing of Codes in Jazzman
ByHerbert Eagle
Pages 16

Jazzman’s plot is very simple. A young pianist, Konstantin Ivanov (Kostia), is thrown out of the conservatory in Odessa for playing jazz. The year is 1928, and the “proletarian” art movements with their ideological allies are urging the suppression of jazz as a “decadent” product of bourgeois culture. Undaunted, Kostia puts up signs advertising for jazz musicians, and two apparently unemployed street-musicians, Stepan and Georgii, sign up. They don’t know what jazz is, but they are attracted by Kostia’s promises of the fame and glory they will achieve as the country’s first jazz band. The group begins practicing in a park. But some official-looking men in suits, accompanied by a burly thug, break up their rehearsal. Kostia blames this on the group’s poor playing. They need less antics and more hard work, he tells them as they sit on an empty beach.