The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
John Woo SBS is a Chinese-born Hong Kong filmmaker and actor. He is considered a major influence on the action genre, known for his chaotic action sequences, stylized imagery, Mexican standoffs, frequent use of slow motion and allusions to neo-noir, ‘’wuxia’’ and Western cinema. Considered one of the major figures of Hong Kong cinema, Woo has directed several notable action films in his adopted home, among them, A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Hard Boiled, Red Cliff, he is a winner of the Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Picture, as well as a Golden Horse Award, an Asia Pacific Screen Award, a Saturn Award. Woo's Hollywood films include the action films Hard Target and Broken Arrow, the sci-fi action thriller Face/Off and the action spy film Mission: Impossible 2, he created the comic series Seven Brothers, published by Virgin Comics. He cites his three favorite films as David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samouraï.
He is the chairman of his own production company, Lion Rock Productions. Woo was born Wu Yu-seng in Guangzhou, amidst the chaos of the Chinese Civil War at the end of October 1946. Due to school age restrictions, his mother changed his birth date to 22 September 1948, what remains on his passport; the Woo family, Christians faced with persecution during Mao Zedong's early anti-bourgeois purges after the communist revolution in China, fled to Hong Kong when he was five. Impoverished, the Woo family lived in the slums at Shek Kip Mei, his father was a teacher, though rendered unable to work by tuberculosis, his mother was a manual laborer on construction sites. The family was rendered homeless by the big Shek Kip Mei fire of 1953. Charitable donations from disaster relief efforts enabled the family to relocate. At age three he was diagnosed with a serious medical condition. Following surgery on his spine, he was unable to walk until eight years old, as a result his right leg is shorter than his left leg.
His Christian upbringing shows influences in his films. As a young boy, Woo had wanted to be a Christian minister, he found a passion for movies influenced by the French New Wave Jean-Pierre Melville. Woo has said he was shy and had difficulty speaking, but found making movies a way to explore his feelings and thinking and would "use movies as a language"; the local cinema would prove a haven of retreat. Woo found respite in American Westerns, he has stated the final scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made a particular impression on him in his youth: the device of two comrades, each of whom fire pistols from each hand, is a recurrent spectacle found in his own work. In 1969, Woo was hired as a script supervisor at Cathay Studios. In 1971, he became an assistant director at Shaw Studios, his directorial debut in 1974 was the feature film The Young Dragons. In the Kung fu action genre, it was choreographed by Jackie Chan and featured dynamic camera-work and elaborate action scenes; the film was picked up by Golden Harvest Studio.
He had success as a comedy director with Money Crazy, starring Hong Kong comedian Ricky Hui. By the mid-1980s, Woo was experiencing occupational burnout. Several of his films were commercial disappointments, he felt a distinct lack of creative control, it was during this period of self-imposed exile that director/producer Tsui Hark provided the funding for Woo to film a longtime pet project, A Better Tomorrow. The story of two brothers—one a law enforcement officer, the other a criminal—the film was a financial blockbuster. A Better Tomorrow became a defining achievement in Hong Kong action cinema for its combination of emotional drama, slow-motion gunplay, gritty atmospherics, its signature visual device of two-handed, two-gunned shootouts within confined quarters—often referred to as "gun fu" was novel, its diametrical inversion of the "good-guys-bad guys" formula in its characterization would influence American films. Woo would make several more Heroic Bloodshed films in the late 1980s and early 1990s, nearly all starring Chow Yun-Fat.
These violent gangster thrillers focus on men bound by honor and loyalty, at odds with contemporary values of impermanence and expediency. The protagonists of these films, may be said to present a common lineage with the Chinese literary tradition of loyalty among generals depicted in classics such as "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". Woo gained international recognition with the release of The Killer, which became the most successful Hong Kong film in American release since Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon and garnered Woo an American cult following. Bullet in the Head followed a year failed to find an audience that accepted its political undertones, failed to recoup its massive budget, his last Hong Kong film before emigrating to the United States was Hard Boiled, a police thriller that served as the antithesis of his previous glorification of gangsters. Most notable of its numerous action scenes is a 30-minute climax set within a hospital. One particular long take follows two characters for 2 minutes and 42 seconds as they fight their way between hospital floors.
On the Criterion DVD and laserdisc, this chapter is referenced as "2 minutes, 42 seconds." The film was darker than most of Woo's previous films, depicting a police force nearly helpless to stop the influx of gangsters in the city, the
Inglourious Basterds is a 2009 black comedy war film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Til Schweiger and Mélanie Laurent. The film tells an alternate history story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany's leadership, one planned by Shosanna Dreyfus, a young French Jewish cinema proprietor and the other by a team of Jewish American soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine. Christoph Waltz co-stars as Hans Landa, an SS colonel tracking down Raine's group and, connected to Shosanna's past; the film's title was inspired by Italian director Enzo G. Castellari's macaroni combat film The Inglorious Bastards. Tarantino wrote the script in 1998, but struggled with the ending and chose instead to direct the two-part film Kill Bill. After directing Death Proof in 2007, Tarantino returned to work on Inglourious Basterds. A co-production of the United States and Germany, the film began principal photography in October 2008 and was filmed in Germany and France with a $70 million production budget.
It premiered on May 20, 2009 at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, received a wide release in theaters in the United States and Europe in August 2009 by The Weinstein Company and Universal Pictures. Inglourious Basterds grossed over $321 million in theaters worldwide, making it Tarantino's highest-grossing film until the release of Django Unchained, it received multiple awards and nominations, among them eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. For his role as Landa, Waltz won the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor Award, as well as the BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1941, SS colonel Hans Landa interrogates French dairy farmer Perrier La Padite about the whereabouts of the last unaccounted-for Jewish family in the area, the Dreyfus family. Landa suspects that they are hiding under the floor, in exchange for the Germans agreeing to leave his family alone for the rest of the war, La Padite somberly confirms it.
Landa orders his SS soldiers to shoot through the floorboards, killing most of the Dreyfus family, but Shosanna, a young woman, escapes. Three years Lieutenant Aldo Raine of the First Special Service Force recruits Jewish-American soldiers to the Basterds, who spread fear among the German soldiers by killing and scalping them; the Basterds recruit Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz, a German soldier who murdered thirteen Gestapo officers. Adolf Hitler interviews a German soldier, Private Butz, the only survivor of a Basterd attack on his squad. Raine carved the Nazi swastika into Butz's forehead with a knife so he could never hide that he served in the German Heer. Shosanna is now operating a cinema under the name Emmanuelle Mimieux, she meets Fredrick Zoller, a German war hero who killed 250 soldiers in a single battle, to star in a Nazi propaganda film, Stolz der Nation. Infatuated with Shosanna, Zoller convinces Joseph Goebbels to hold the premiere of the film at her cinema. Shosanna plots with Marcel, the French West African projectionist and Shosanna's lover, to kill the Nazi leaders attending the premiere by setting the cinema ablaze.
Unknown to Shosanna, British Royal Marine Lieutenant Archie Hicox is planning an attack at the premiere with the Basterds. Hicox goes to a tavern with Stiglitz and Basterd Wilhelm Wicki to meet an undercover agent, the German film star Bridget von Hammersmark. Hicox draws the attention of Wehrmacht Sergeant Wilhelm and Gestapo Major Dieter Hellstrom with his unusual accent, he gives himself away by gesturing "three" with his hand. Discovered and the Basterds open fire, killing everyone except Wilhelm and Hammersmark, wounded. Raine arrives and negotiates with Wilhelm for Hammersmark's release, but she shoots Wilhelm when he lowers his guard. Raine, believing Hammersmark set Hicox and his men up, tortures Hammersmark, who convinces him that she is not a spy and reveals that Hitler will attend the film premiere, he decides to continue the mission. Landa investigates the aftermath at the tavern and finds one of Hammersmark's shoes and a napkin with her signature. At the premiere, two of the Basterds, Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz and Omar Ulmer, join Raine in posing as Italians, hoping to fool the Germans unfamiliar with the language.
However, who speaks fluent Italian, converses with the Basterds before sending Donowitz and Ulmer to their seats. He takes Hammersmark to a private room, verifies that the shoe from the tavern fits her strangles her to death. Raine and another of his men, Smithson "The Little Man" Utivich, are taken prisoner, but Landa has Raine contact his superior with the OSS and cuts a deal: he will allow the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity and rewards. During the screening, Zoller slips away to the projection room to see Shosanna. After she rejects his advances, he becomes aggressive, she pretends to acquiesce pulls a pistol and shoots him. Zoller, raises his pistol and shoots her before they both die; as Stolz der Nation reaches its climax, spliced-in footage of Shosanna tells the audience that they are about to be killed by a Jew. Marcel, having locked the doors of the cinema, ignites a pile of flammable nitrate film behind the screen as Shosanna's image laughs. Ulmer and Donowitz break into the box containing Hitler and Goebbels, killing them fire their submachine guns into the crowd until the bombs go off, killing everyone in the theater.
Landa and his radio operator drive Utivich into Allied territory, where they surrender. Raine shoots the radio operato
Sergio Leone was an Italian film director and screenwriter, credited as the inventor of the Spaghetti Western genre. Leone's film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots, his movies include the sword and sandal action films The Last Days of Pompeii and The Colossus of Rhodes, the Dollars Trilogy of Westerns featuring Clint Eastwood: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Born in Rome, Leone was the son of the cinema pioneer Vincenzo Leone and silent film actress Edvige Valcarenghi. During his schooldays, Leone was a classmate of his musical collaborator Ennio Morricone for a time. After watching his father work on film sets, Leone began his own career in the film industry at the age of 18 after dropping out of law studies at the university. Working in Italian cinematography, he began as an assistant to Vittorio de Sica during the movie The Bicycle Thief in 1948. Leone began writing screenplays during the 1950s for the'sword and sandal' historical epics, popular at the time.
He worked as an assistant director on several large-scale international productions shot at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome, notably Quo Vadis and Ben-Hur, financially backed by the American studios. When director Mario Bonnard fell ill during the production of the 1959 Italian epic The Last Days of Pompeii, starring Steve Reeves, Leone was asked to step in and complete the film; as a result, when the time came to make his solo directorial debut with The Colossus of Rhodes, Leone was well equipped to produce low-budget films which looked like larger-budget Hollywood movies. In the mid-1960s, historical epics fell out of favor with audiences, but Leone had shifted his attention to a subgenre which came to be known as the "Spaghetti Western", owing its origin to the American Western, his film A Fistful of Dollars was based upon Akira Kurosawa's Edo-era samurai adventure Yojimbo. Leone's film elicited a legal challenge from the Japanese director, though Kurosawa's film was in turn based on the 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel, Red Harvest.
A Fistful of Dollars is notable for establishing Clint Eastwood as a star. Until that time Eastwood had been an American television actor with few credited film roles; the look of A Fistful of Dollars was established by its Spanish locations, which presented a violent and morally complex vision of the American Old West. The film paid tribute to traditional American western films, but departed from them in storyline, plot and mood. Leone gains credit for one great breakthrough in the western genre still followed today: in traditional western films, many heroes and villains looked alike as if they had just stepped out of a fashion magazine, with drawn moral opposites down to the hero wearing a white hat and the villain wearing a black hat. Leone's characters were, in contrast, more'realistic' and complex: usually'lone wolves' in their behaviour; the characters were morally ambiguous by appearing generously compassionate, or nakedly and brutally self-serving, as the situation demanded. Relationships revolved around power and retributions were emotion-driven rather than conscience-driven.
Some critics have noted the irony of an Italian director who could not speak English, had never visited the United States, let alone the American Old West single-handedly redefining the typical vision of the American cowboy. According to Christopher Frayling's book Something to do with Death, Leone knew a great deal about the American Old West, it fascinated him as a child, which carried into his films. Leone's next two films, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, completed what has come to be known as the Man with No Name trilogy, with each film being more financially successful and more technically accomplished than its predecessor; the films featured innovative music scores by Ennio Morricone, who worked with Leone in devising the themes. Leone had a personal way of shooting scenes with Morricone's music ongoing. In addition, Clint Eastwood stayed with the film series, joined by Eli Wallach, Lee van Cleef and Klaus Kinski. Based on the success of The Man with No Name trilogy, Leone was invited to the United States in 1967 to direct Once Upon a Time in the West for Paramount Pictures.
The film was shot in Almería, Spain and Cinecittà in Rome. It was briefly shot in Monument Valley, Utah; the film starred Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Once Upon a Time in the West emerged as a long, dreamlike meditation upon the mythology of the American Old West, with many stylistic references to iconic western films. Audience tension is maintained throughout this nearly three-hour film by concealing both the hero's identity and his unpredictable motivation until the final predictable shootout scene. Unsurpassed as a retribution drama, the film's script was written by Leone and his longtime friend and collaborator Sergio Donati, from a story by Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, both of whom wen
A trope is a cinematic convention, a short of visual shorthand or metaphor for conveying a concept. It is defined by The Art Direction Handbook for Film as "a universally identified image imbued with several layers of contextual meaning creating a new visual metaphor". More abstractly, it can be defined as an element of film semiology which connects between denotation and connotation. Films reproduce those of other arts. Once a film trope has been created, whether as an original expression or borrowed from elsewhere, it can evolve into a convention that may be quoted by subsequent artists, either as an homage of sorts or a useful shortcut conveying in minimalist fashion what the entire trope over time represents. George Bluestone, wrote in Novels Into Film that in producing adaptations, film tropes are "enormously limited" compared to literary tropes. Bluestone said, " is a way... of packed symbolic thinking, specific to imaginative rather than to visual activity... converted into a literal image, the metaphor would seem absurd."
A common, overarching thematic trope is the fall of a mobster in a classic gangster film. The film genre often features the discrete trope of a rising gangster buying new clothes as he sheds his street background and adopts a more prominent persona. Another example is a "Mexican standoff", a confrontation in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory, thus requiring a change from outside the dynamic to break the stalemate. Ehrat, Johannes. Cinema and Semiotic: Pierce and Film Aesthetics and Representation. Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-3912-5
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U. S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U. S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, the Truman Doctrine of 1947, ending between the Revolutions of 1989, which ended communism in Eastern Europe, the 1991 collapse of the USSR, when nations of the Soviet Union abolished communism and restored their independence. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars; the conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The capitalist West was led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system, as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies.
Some major Cold War frontlines such as Indochina and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed Marxist–Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a totalitarian leader with different titles over time, a small committee called the Politburo; the Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. The two worlds were fighting for dominance in low-developed regions known as the Third World. In time, a neutral bloc arose in these regions with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. Notwithstanding isolated incidents of air-to-air dogfights and shoot-downs, the two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat. However, both were armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war.
Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events, technological competitions such as the Space Race; the first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe and creating the NATO alliance; the Berlin Blockade was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War, the conflict expanded.
The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; the expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis, the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon in Europe and the US; the peace movement, in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, continued to grow through the'70s and'80s with large protest marches and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies France, demonstrated greater independence of action.
The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments. By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979; the early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was suffering from economic stag