For the high ideological and artistic quality of Czechoslovak film, Rudé právo 19.4.1950

The resolution of the Board of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia on the creative objectives of Czechoslovak film


Rudé právo 19.4.1950


The Board of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia inquired into the creative difficulties of our cinema and reached these conclusions, which are to be the main cultural policy of the Czechoslovak state cinematography in this period:

Our cinema is, through its mass reach, employed to successfully fulfil its great and honourable educational mission imposed on it by our people’s democratic republic on the way to socialism under the lead of the Communist Party. In the manner of the great Soviet cinema, Czechoslovak cinema is to play an important role in the education of a new, mindful citizen of the Republic, a self-sacrificing builder of socialism ardently loving his free country and resolved to defend it at all times from the attacks of enemies, bound by indestructible strong ties of friendship and love with the countries of USSR, people’s democratic countries and progressive forces from around the world.

For the Czechoslovak cinema to truly become the powerful educational force, it needs to express its great ideas ideologically clearly and also artistically convincingly; it must be true and engaging, deeply human and intelligible; it has to impress and touch the broadest classes of our people, to awe the hearts and minds of viewers, to fill them with optimism and faith in the victory of the bloc of peace and democracy and turn all righteous citizens of the Republic to realising the great ideals of socialism.

An example of this high ideology, partisanism, and artistic mastery are Soviet films, which display the wealth of the socialist life, are the mirror of views of a Soviet man, solidify the moral political unity of the people and mobilise them to a concentrated effort to reach communism. These traits have granted the Soviet cinema the love and admiration of workers from around the world and especially our people, to whom Soviet films assisted in the building of socialism.

Our film has too achieved great successes in the efforts to display the revolutionary past of our nation, the brave fight of the people for freedom and their successes and hardships in the building of a new order, as corroborated by numerous successful and by our people very well received films, such as Siréna, Jan Roháč, Němá barikáda, Vzbouření na vsi et al. Next to these successes, our film is also undergoing severe imperfections. The main imperfections are manifested in the fact that our cinema still has not broken free from the idealess routine of pre-Munich cinema, from the kowtowing to the decadent western cinema; that it has not yet grasped everything new brought by the building of socialism in our public, economic, and cultural life and in the relations between people in ideological and moral areas. Our film workers often underestimate the so-far educational function of cinema; tendencies of idealessness and unpolitical character, attempts to escape the problems of today, and the remnants of formalism. It is although on the other hand necessary to see the inclination to oversimplify complex questions of current development, schematism, at the expense of artistic truthfulness and effectivity of films. To further expand the successes of our cinema and eliminate its imperfections, to become an indispensable and popular helper and teacher to our people, we must even more than before highlight and practically apply the principles of ideology and topicality, whose equal, necessary, and inseparable component is the master artistic form of the film.

Ideology, politicality, and topicality reside in the display of the vast multiformity of our present, the abundance of actions, thoughts, and emotions which constitute a man’s life today, while the subject matter is to be adapted in such a way that the viewer correctly comprehends the meaning of our path to socialism, that he understands that the five-year plan, the re-construction of our economy in both industry and agriculture are a means to achieve a happy and full life for all righteous working people. Using this angle of view, there should be an artistic display of the main problems of the current period, the role of the Czechoslovak Republic in the world peace front led by the USSR, the idea of a friendly co-existence of nations, the new rate of our working class to labour, manifesting itself in strike labour and socialist competition, its heroism in building our economy, and in the wide-ranging work on the blossoming of our homeland, the transition to cooperative agricultural production and the transformation of villages on the road to socialism, the union of workers and small and medium farmers, the relation of workers’ labour in industry to the increase of living standards of the whole people and especially the rural areas, the questions on the ratio of social ownership, the fight with the class enemy, the work and mission of national committees, the new judiciary and all other people’s bodies, work and new life of youth, the problems of intelligence from the working class, the help of science to the workers, the questions of schools and generally cultural changes in our state, especially in manufactures and rural areas the help of the USSR and the love and gratitude of our citizens to our liberator, the life and leading role of the Party, international solidarity etc.

All these problems, which are not to be taken from schematic rules but from real life, are to be shown both in the general framework of great historical events and also specifically on the individual stories of people, on personal conflicts, socially conditioned, to uncover in an illustrative way how the escalating class war is taking place within a man, how in this war with backward prejudice and bourgeois opinions and habits a new socialist morality is on the rise, an individual’s new relationship with society and among people themselves. In the efforts to display a live person, his work, and private life, our cinema needs to rid itself of all schematisation that flattens the multiformity of reality, deprives the film of its artistic distinction and truthfulness, thus diminishing its effectiveness. We are also stressing the request that the socialist tendencies of the film stem from the very piece of art and be its convincing, organic part. Films dealing with the present must, along with the whole scale and size of social changes, show the lives of newly emerging heroes, their feelings and thoughts, an example of the foremost people of our time in industry, agriculture, science, culture; to show how these people, who remake reality, also remake themselves by their work. We understand the topicality of our film in all its breadth in the sense that every film should speak to a present-day viewer, help him in his life, educate him. This perception of the request for topicality also defines the correct focus and mission of a historical film, which can therefore neither be an attempt to escape the present day nor an autotelic display of a certain period or figure in history. On the contrary, a historical film must speak to the present viewer closely and comprehensively about those thoughts that are part of the lives and spiritual wealth of present-day people and ideals that our people fought for in the past, that are executed today, and that will strengthen them in the future too. Historical films should display both revolutionary progressive traditions, embodied especially in the Hussite movement, and also the fight of the working class against capitalism and the memorable part played by the Communist Party, an instigator of this victorious historical battle, as well as the critical influence of the October Revolution and Soviet Union on the upswing and successes of this fight.

In the overall thematic plan a ratio should be preserved so that a vast majority of films is dedicated to the current problems of the building of socialism, while far bigger attention than before should be paid to films with the theme of the transformation of our villages. Not to forget the highly politically important role of cinema that it can play in the re-education and ideological influence on middle classes in general, which though does not suppose adaptation, but the fight against their ideology, carried out in such manner that it derives from a given state of conscience and assists with the gradual transformation of these people.

The educational mission of our cinema will be largely aided by ideologically and artistically valuable comedies, which cannot though by any means only become entertaining unpolitical shows, but which should act as sharp political weapons mocking the remaining bourgeois opinions and habits whilst highlighting the positive happy and optimistic characteristics of the present. This optimistic spirit is not to be limited only to comical films, but should pervade our film as a substantial feature of the rising victorious working class that owns the future.

Next to these types of films, our filmmakers should pay close attention to other types of films, especially popular science films, children’s films and documentaries so that film gives the most vivid image of the present and the past, educates and leads the broadest masses to a socialist future. With this goal, a reorganisation of these sectors of filmmaking is being prepared.

A good ideological quality is clearly unthinkable without an equally developed artistic quality, without which one cannot depict the dramatic character and riveting vigour of the socialist construction.

The basic creative method of our film is the socialist realism method, while all cinema must avoid all enticements of the naturalistic and static description of reality and vulgarisation.

The accomplishment of these creative goals is to be secured by the reorganisation of the film council and film dramaturgy. The film council is a body accountable to the minister of information. It cooperates closely with the Directorate General of the Czechoslovak State Film Office, with the central office for production and collective management of the Central Dramaturgy Office of the Czechoslovak State Film Office, which are obliged to abide by the decisions of the film council in the matters of ideological, political, and artistic course of filmmaking and its subject matter.

Film dramaturgy is set to operate as a body of the Czechoslovak State Film Office, which will help authors adapt scripts, observe the work on the set, and regularly help the creative teams and individual workers and supervise their work.

To increase the number of stories and scripts, our best writers and playwrights must be recruited to filmmaking. To accomplish this, it is advised to set up a film commission within the Union of Czechoslovak Writers, which will ensure that the writers write the most quality, ideologically and artistically highly valuable film stories and scripts.

A significant mission of our cinema is to develop filmmaking in Slovakia. It will be the honour of all Czech filmmakers and film workers to provide general brotherly support for the emerging Slovak filmmaking. This especially entails the construction of necessary technical facilities in Slovakia, the training of Slovak film workers, the help of Czech film experts with the production of Slovak films etc.

These measures, aiming to further develop our film arts, should create a work base that will, through common work, connect all workers in cinema, who wish to righteously serve our people’s democratic republic. This common work requests the proved and experienced film workers to strive for the overcoming of practicism, routinism, and the inclination to formalism and to adopt the marxist-leninist world view and the method of socialist realism in their artistic works. With beginning workers in cinema, it is necessary to overcome the underestimation of expert knowledge in the field of filmmaking and lead them to continuously work on acquiring proper qualification and heed the experiences of meritorious film workers. This cooperation, which presumes the elimination of any generational conflicts, can only be created and solidified on the grounds of honest and open criticism and self-criticism and the disposal of competition habits. The greatest attention must be paid to the selection and training of new talented film workers and also the ideological and professional training of those already working in cinema, which must be attended to by a permanent school, residential courses, to be established by the film office. It is especially necessary to boldly highlight and educate new skilled directors, screenwriters, and actors, then to take actions to reorganise the film faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in order to prepare new teams of creative film workers in practical cooperation with the filmmaking industry.

Along with the rebuilding of the creative work of our cinema, it is also necessary to take measures in the field of film distribution so as to ease the access of hundreds of thousands new viewers. That entails the focus of our cinema network to industrial areas, factory clubs etc. and the penetration of cinema even to the remotest villages. That further entails a distribution policy which manages to acquire and educate viewers mainly using our new films and also Soviet films and those of people’s democratic countries; it is concurrently the significant mission of the Party, mass organisations, the authorities of state educational institutions, and the educational administration to continuously take care of the mass attendance of Czechoslovak, Soviet, and other progressive films. It is necessary to carry out targeted measures in the distribution section of the state film administration.

Our country has, led by Klement Gottwald, boldly set out to build socialism. Film workers have a great responsibility in this aim. Their works are today seen by millions of citizens of the Republic, from the industrial urban communities to the distant small villages. Therefore, they must invest all their effort in giving the people convincing works of art of high ideological and artistic quality, which will be loved and admired by the people, which will be understood, and which will become an indispensable need in everyday life and a helper, teacher, and advisor with its reconstruction.

„Za vysokou ideovou a uměleckou úroveň československého filmu“, in: Rudé právo, 19.4.1950.
Translation: Beáta Veisová