OSA | Visions after the Fall: Program

Visions after the Fall: Museums, Archives and Cinema in Reshaping Popular Perceptions of the Socialist Past

Araceli Rodríguez Mateos: The vision of the socialist past of Eastern Europe through newsreels from the non-communist area. An example: the Spanish newsreel NO-DO.

This paper aims to analyse the way newsreels in non-communist countries represented the regimes of Eastern Europe during the 40's and 50's.
During the Cold War, newsreels in the non-communist area spread a particular view of the events that happened on the other side of the Iron Curtain. This view was directed by ideological propaganda against communism. But we are talking about non-fiction cinema, and newsreels were proud to be "filmed newspapers". So they offered this propaganda in a subtle way, using many resources: from intertitles to visual editing. Newsreels selected a part of reality and manipulated it, but they emerged as witnesses of the enemy's ‘evil' and elaborated ‘unquestionable' reports which prove its existence.
The study of this audiovisual discourse about the past is very interesting, especially for historical researchers and filmmakers intent on 'reshaping' the memory of the socialist past in these countries. They could use the footage available in many production companies' archives and they have to consider its value, because newsreels were very popular in these decades and many in the audience (who did not read newspapers or had a low level of culture) believed in that vision of reality. Non-fiction cinema seemed to be trustworthy because cameras claimed to film what they were looking at. So, the spectators had no doubt about the children, women and grandparents crying in Budapest in 1956.
The question, then, is how newsreels represented life in Eastern Europe.
In order to answer it we can use the footage of NO-DO, the official newsreel of the Franco regime. It is a useful example because for four decades (1943-1980) NO-DO edited footage provided by foreign companies in order to report what was happening in the rest of the world. In NO-DO's archive we can found interesting and representative items from the socialist area, filmed mainly by Anglo-Saxon, Italian and French companies. We can see, analyze and discuss the propaganda about these countries from the big screens of half a world during the Cold War.

Araceli Rodríguez Mateos: European Doctor of Communication Sciences (University Complutense of Madrid). Lecturer at University King Juan Carlos (Madrid. Spain). Expert in non-fiction and documental cinema during Franco's regimen in Spain. Her field of research is in history of social communication and social history of cinema.

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Date: June 10, Saturday

Time: 12-12.30 pm



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